The holidays are quickly approaching and that means you probably have a lot of gifts to wrap! Unfortunately, sitting or standing for long periods of time can wreak havoc on your posture.  And it will quickly lead to back, neck, muscle and arm pain or strain. Use these easy tips to avoid back pain, and minimize the strain on your back and spine. Maybe with these tips, we can keep the bah hum-bug out of the holiday season!

 

When you get ready to start wrapping gifts, consider these easy tips:

Don’t sit on the floor.

Yup, it’s your first inclination, to sit on the floor with all the gifts and paper. And, if you’re a last minute wrapper like me. You could be there wrapping for hours! 

So, instead of sitting on the floor, try sitting at the dining room table to ease the strain on your back. Or, you can sit in a chair with back support. Both these suggestions can help to minimize the strain on your back, neck and arms.

Set up a proper gift wrapping area.

As we just talked about, sitting on the bed or on the floor looks easy, but it can be brutal on your back especially if you sit at an angle for long periods of time. 

Instead, find a table or area in your house that you can clear off and lay out the supplies you need. It doesn’t have to be as fancy as the pic above, but make sure to include your tape, scissors, tissue paper and wrapping paper. That way everything is right there with you when you need it and you’re not constantly getting up and down. If you prefer to stand, make sure to wear supportive shoes to support your spine. 

If you can buy or if you already own a memory foam mat, the thick memory foam will help improve your balance and posture by alleviating the pressure on your lower back and spine. Just make sure to stand evenly with feet shoulder width apart.

Wrap and go.

Instead of trying to wrap all of your gifts at once, (like I tend to) break up the wrapping sessions and try wrapping your presents periodically. Or, you can stay ahead of the holiday gift wrapping game and wrap your presents whenever you shop. 

By keeping your wrapping sessions short you’ll help minimize the strain on your neck, back and arms. This will also minimize fatigue and ensure you’re not straining your muscles.

Host a gift wrapping party

You’re not the only one that dreads all that holiday wrapping. You can host a small gift wrapping party so you and your friends can spend time together and be productive. 

Not to mention, it is the season for helping others! If a friend sees that you’re in pain from too much holiday gift wrapping, they may offer to help. You could always return the favor, and help them get caught up with their gift wrapping on another night.

Use gift bags

We know wrapping gifts is so much fun…cue the sarcastic tone. So why not cut down on the wrapping paper and the back pain by using gift bags. There’s so many sizes and materials to choose from! 

Using gift bags also helps to minimize all the cutting and stretching that you have to do as you maneuver rolls of wrapping paper. A festive bag and decorative ribbon takes no time at all, and it also takes all the fuss out of trying to get the paper cut evenly! 

Not to mention, lots of people like to save their gift bags to use themselves. Just remember to attach your own tag that can be cut off so they can use the gift bags original tag when they become the gift-giver. See, aren’t you the thoughtful one?! ‘Tis the season to think of others!

Stretch

Gift wrapping can be a workout, so be sure to stretch before and after gift wrapping. No one wants tight or strained muscles and simple stretching can reduce stiffness and spasms. 

Simple stretches like touching your toes and arm raises can help loosen tight muscles. 

An added benefit is to drink a glass of water as you wrap gifts and pace yourself by stretching gently after each gift that’s wrapped.

Get a helping hand

No one said that holiday gift wrapping is all bad. If you’re prone to back or neck pain often you could always ask that special someone in your life to give you a light massage. 

A light neck or back massage is a great way to relieve muscle tension. Massages can also improve blood circulation, ease headache pain, improve someone’s mood, and give an energy boost. And ’tis the season for giving. You can always return the favor!

See a specialist 

At Southern Pain and Spine Specialists, we’ve seen all kinds of holiday-related back and neck injuries over the years, the most common being back pain from lifting holiday trees, moving furniture, and stiffness and shooting pain from wrapping presents. 

Nothing takes the joy out of the holiday season like strained muscles, aches and pain. The more you pace yourself and use a proper posture, the easier it is on your spine, joints, muscles and ligaments. Sitting hunched over on the floor while trying to wrap 25 presents at once can quickly lead to joint stiffness, and that’s one present you don’t want this year!

If you’re experiencing any kind of muscle strain, stiffness, or pain, let us know! You can’t enjoy the holidays with family and friends if you’re in constant pain. We have office hours conveniently scheduled around the holiday season and we can schedule you for a consultation and exam right away. 

We offer a wide range of comprehensive treatment options to treat your pain at the source without surgery! 

To set up your FREE consultation at either our Matthews or Waxhaw locations just click here or call us directly at 833-704-7246.

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook!

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