Holiday Ergonomics

Happy holidays to our patients, family, and friends! Once again, the holiday-crazy-time is upon us. Follow these simple tips to avoid injury as you prepare for gift-giving, hosting, traveling and relaxing.

Shopping? Keep in mind:

  • Not all shopping bags are created equal, and not all shopping bags are easy-to-carry. Find a thicker handled bag or backpack that is more suitable for you to use when you are shopping.
  • Distribute the weight of multiple items on both sides of your body.
  • It is better to reduce the weight you are carrying. If safe and secure, leave extra belongings and shopping bags in the car and make more than one trip.
  • Use the parking lot as a chance to exercise. Park further away and walk the lot for a short burst of exercise. Be aware of your surroundings, and watch out for “Scroogey “drivers.



Wrapping presents? Be sure to:

  • Avoid sitting on the floor or a soft surface. Instead, sit at the kitchen or dining room table to decrease stress on the spine and pelvis.
  • Avoid reaching for objects. Walk around the table until you can reach what you need. If you must reach, tip forward from the hips. Keep your spine in a “neutral” position.
  • Bend at the knees and hips when picking items up off the floor.
  • Ask for help from a friend or family member when handling large or heavy objects.
  • Shop online and splurge for the gift wrapping option!
  • Take breaks. Try to avoid sitting for more than 30-45 minutes.




  • Bring lumbar support for travel on planes and in the car.
  • Stop and walk every hour if possible. This would be a great time to do a few PT exercises!
  • Most back injuries occur when getting luggage, etc. OUT of the trunk. This is due to the “pre-injury” that happens from sitting with bad posture on long car rides.
  • Use rolling luggage and bend your knees and hips when lifting. Don’t over-bend or arch your back when lifting to the overhead compartment.



  • Keep your abdominals and pelvic floor braced when lifting the roast beast in and out of the oven.
  • While cleaning your house, keep your core tight and your spine straight. If possible, get help so that you can focus on other things.

Need present ideas? Try these ergonomic gifts:

  • An adjustable stand/computer desk that allows you to work from sitting or standing can help to vary your position during long days at the office.

  • Memory foam lumbar support for the car or office can help to promote a “neutral spine” alignment.

Most importantly:

  • Don’t go down the chimney alone.
  • Be aware that excessive giving leads to cardiomegaly, but it’s totally worth it, just ask the Grinch.





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