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Lights, Presents, & Trees:

How to Make Your Holidays Injury Free

Many refer to the holiday season as the most wonderful time and it can be! However as the days march into the new year, we tend to see a sharp increase in accidents and injuries associated with the holidays. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were an estimated 15,000 injuries due to holiday trauma last year from November to December!

Deck the Halls – without the falls!

The CPSC says the primary cause of holiday injuries is falls. Half of these accidents involve tumbles from ladders. So while everyone wants to deck the halls and make their homes merry and bright, how do we do that safely?

So what can you do to reduce the risk?

Before you start decorating, check your ladder for broken or worn parts, especially if you haven’t used it since last year!

Partner up! A buddy system is a great system even when it comes to the holidays. Work with someone else, especially when up on a ladder – plus it adds more fun!.

Set yourself up for success! A good rule of thumb from the Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: for every four feet of height you have to climb, move the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall.

Holiday Cheer – keeping us in stitches!

The other big thing that cuts into the holiday cheer... Lacerations. Lacerations or cuts from sharp implements and broken ornaments may leave some in stitches. It’s common to reach for scissors or a knife when you’re opening packages or wrapping /unwrapping gifts. But using those tools in a hurry or while distracted can cause a cut or puncture wound.

So what can you do to reduce the risk?

When using scissors or a knife, always cut away from yourself and away from anyone else. It is always advised to perform these cuts on a secure stable surface which is located at waist height. This also reduces the risk of injury.

Also, if you have children in the home provide them with help when they are struggling to open a gift. This reduces the risk of injury to both them and yourself!

Don't Be a Grinch - be up lifting!

Santa isn't the only one doing all the lifting! There’s a lot of bending and hoisting during the holidays — packages, gifts, trees, boxes full of decorations and heavy grocery bags.

So even if you plan ahead and let someone else do the extra heavy loads, your neck, back and shoulders may take some extra abuse around the holidays. In fact, even excess time shopping online (especially while sitting on the couch) can cause strain!

So what can you do to reduce the risk?

If you must pick up something heavy, lift with your legs: squat to pick up a package and then straighten your legs to lift. If you feel an item is "too much" when you first lift it, don't try to just tough it out. Wait and ask a partner to assist or see if you cannot disperse the ONE big load into smaller loads.

So this holidays season....

Give yourself the gift of a pain free holiday!

If you do injure yourself over the holidays, don’t ignore the pain. It is not a gift that is worth giving! Instead, call and schedule an appointment to see one of our physiotherapists.


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