The hidden dangers of Christmas: Top Tips to avoid back pain

Never mind the feeling of being more stuffed than the Christmas turkey there are other hidden dangers lurking around the Christmas tree. Turkey Lifters Back, Shoppers Shoulder, TV Remote Thumb may not be well known but they stalk the unwary festival reveler just the same.

Ok maybe some of those names are made up but Brighton chiropractor Matthew Bennett says “We do notice a marked increase in patients coming in with aches and pains directly related to the Christmas holidays. Probably the biggest increase is in back pain associated with spending more time doing very little. We sit around watching television, eating and drinking and sometimes even a fair bit of stress.”

Tree Mayhem for Backs

Bending and lifting awkwardly is well known to cause back pain. Lugging the Christmas in and trying to get it straight has its own hazard but also bending, stretching and twisting to put on the fairy lights and baubles start the strain.  Add in traipsing around the shops buying gifts and bending over on the floor wrapping them up pile on the pressure on your back joints and muscles.

Turkey Lifters Back

Who would have thought that a turkey could be so menacing. The benign bird becomes 25lbs of sizzling danger when bending over to get it out of a hot oven. The other option of several manageable pre-sliced fillets somehow doesn’t conjure up the same feelings of festive cheer though.

No-one wants to be a killjoy but alcohol is a factor in many of the injuries we see. There is the obvious “PFO” (Pissed and Fell Over) to the more insidious pro-inflammatory effects of booze over several days. On the plus side there is a muscle relaxation effect of moderate alcohol intake but after 2 or 3 drinks this doesn’t work anymore.

Adrenal Stress and Back Pain

Loads of sugar can affect your back too amazingly. Sugar stimulates your adrenal glands amongst other things and this combined with alcohol, caffeine and stress can over-work your adrenal glands leading to adrenal fatigue. Not only can this leave you feeling very tired but your adrenal glands produce anti-inflammatory corticosteroids. Without this chemical any injury is likely to be more painful.

You made it into the afternoon on Christmas Day uninjured. You may have been working in the kitchen on your feet for hours and your back or shoulders may be tightening up but now it is time to relax. You slump down into the sofa and watch a bit of TV. It seems like you stay there until the end of Boxing Day and by the time it is all over you feel like your back is shouting.

Top Tips to Avoid Back Pain this Christmas

  1. Take regular breaks when doing housework or cooking
  2. Use a table rather than standing up for some food preparation like peeling spuds
  3. Get help lifting awkward items
  4. Bend over by going down on one knee when pick up light stuff
  5. Bend your knees and stick your bottom out when lifting heavy stuff
  6. Use a step ladder rather than stretching when putting up decorations
  7. Get out for a regular walk over the holidays
  8. If you don’t go for a walk, do some squats
  9. If you don’t do squats or go for a walk vary the seat you seat in, possibly putting a cushion in the small of your back
  10. Take it easy on the alcohol and sugar

We hope you don’t have need of us but be assured that if you do, we are here between Christmas and New Year.

Happy Christmas from us all at Sundial.


Sundial Clinics, Brighton's favourite chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage clinicsFor better backs, shoulders, knees and necks

Serving Brighton, Hove and the surrounding areas

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