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Alleviating Back Pain While Decorating for the Holidays

The holiday season brings joy, laughter and celebration, but along with it comes tasks that cause additional stress and worsening chronic pain. Holiday decorating, for example, can cause some people to become overwhelmed, which often intensifies their symptoms.

At Gateway Spine and Pain Physicians, our goal is to provide you with simple, helpful tips to get you through the holiday season and allow you to begin the New Year feeling great.

1. Lift Correctly

Holiday decorating usually entails getting boxes from an attic or basement and hauling them to the main level. These boxes can get quite heavy after accumulating decorations year after year, so you need to focus on lifting properly in order to not damager your back or any fragile decorations. When lifting boxes, be sure to keep your back straight, utilize your abdominal muscles, and lift from your legs.

2. Always Use a Ladder

Although you may be able to stand on your toes and reach in order to hang a decoration, it is often safer to utilize a ladder or a stepladder instead of overstretching and risking getting back pain or neck pain.

Another helpful tip: use your ladder safely.  Before climbing up those stairs, ask yourself if your balance is good enough to stand on a ladder. If you decide it is, make sure that the ladder is stable and have someone hold the base to prevent it from tipping over. If changing positions laterally, be sure to move the ladder instead of trying to reach. Not only can reaching out put strain on your muscles, but it can also cause your ladder to tip over.

3. Make accommodations for decorating high and low surfaces.

If you’re decorating a surface lower than you can comfortably reach while standing, sit on a chair or stool if possible so you aren’t bending as often. For higher surfaces, consider placing the box of decorations on a table or chair so you are not constantly bending over to grab items. Again, always be sure to use proper lifting techniques.

4. Make it a family activity.

If the whole family helps out, the projects will get done quicker and you won’t be putting as much stress on yourself. For higher decorations, have one person stand on the ladder while another hands them the decorations. Getting help from the whole family also allows everyone the opportunity to take breaks and to switch activities so no one is stuck sitting or standing the entire time.

For additional information regarding Gateway Spine and Pain Physicians, please visit or call (630) 226-1130.