December 8, 2010

This Season, Don’t Let Your Back Hold You Back

'Tis the season for potential back injury as you prepare for the holidays, but according to an expert at Baylor College of Medicine, with some foresight you can prevent injuries that could set you back during the holiday season.

Don't over exert yourself

"The holidays are a time with increased activities, but it's important not to overly exert yourself," said Dr. Rubin Bashir, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at BCM.

One of the most important precautions to take is bending properly when lifting heavy objects, said Bashir. If possible, always see if someone can help you lift heavy boxes, decorations and other items. When bending to pick them up, keep the back straight, use your legs and bend your knees. Bending with a straight leg puts stress on the lower back and puts you at risk for an injury, he said.
Another precaution is to avoid the top two rungs of the ladder, and always be sure to have a spotter when climbing a ladder.

Take care of injuries

If a back injury does occur, immediately assess it to see what type of care is needed. If the pain is in the lower back but is not extending to the legs, rest and take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen to relieve the pain. See a doctor if the pain is persistent or increasing for more than 24 hours and is not getting better with medication. Pain down the legs, numbness between the thighs, frequent urination and inability to control bowel movement can also be signs that you need to see a physician, said Bashir.

The holidays are a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends, so be sure to take simple precautions so you don't miss the celebrations, he said.


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