However many shopping days there are until Christmas, one thing is for sure, you will always need more. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, its true. But ’tis also the season to be jolly excited, tired, stressed, full of cheer and busy all at the same time. For your local Osteopath, it is also a busy time.

Lifting decoration out of the loft, grappling with the festive tree, wrestling ten pound turkeys with all the trimmings in and out of the oven and hitting the shops with a vengeance all puts extra strain on the body and ensure we have a steady flow of festive aches and pains into the practice. We’ve put together some top tips to help make sure that this year, your advent calendar isn’t counting down to the advent of an episode of chafes, pains, twists and sprains. Whether you’re lifting a sackful of presents down to the in-laws, a stash of can’t-believe-they-are-so-cheap clothes from your favourite

January sale or a load of ski clobber down to the Alps, our general advice will help keep you safe and make sure you can at least start on that New Year’s resolution to hit the gym…..

  1. Hold or move a load as close to your body as possible, to reduce the strain on your back. Hug that Christmas shopping tight!
  2. The more stable you are the less likely you are to let the load suddenly slip or fall. Try to have your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart and stand upright as possible. If you have a low oven, ask someone to help you bend and manhandle the turkey.
  3. Try to avoid pushing or pulling (even in the pre-Christmas sales), either above shoulder or below mid-thigh height. Remember pushing is always preferable to pulling.
  4. Consider the nature of the load particularly the weight, ease of movement, shape, size and rigidity. All of these factors will influence the amount of effort you have to put into lifting in addition to the stress on your spine.
  5. Loads of greater than 75cm in height, depth or width increase risk of injury.
  6. Loads which are difficult to grasp require more strength, particularly if wet, greasy or slippery. Correctly placed handles or reasonable size will make it easier.
  7. Be aware of any weakness and work within them. If you are pregnant, recovering from illness or injury, are tired or stressed, be more careful when lifting even seemingly manageable weights.
  8. If you are lifting weights repeatedly, as a guide reduce the weight by 30% if the operation is twice a minute, by 50% if five times per minute and 80% if twelve times per minute.
  9. Take a break. Even a spot of Christmas shopping can put an intolerable load on your body, especially if you are wearing high heels and carrying a number of different shapes, sizes and weights of bags.
  10. Enjoy your Christmas to the full, and if that dance round the Christmas tree or playing with the kids new toys on the floor does result in a tweak, relax, it can be sorted.