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How To Avoid the Pains of Holiday Gift Wrapping Like a Pro

By Sara Butler

Woman Standing with Wrapped Holiday Gifts

There are several very embarrassing ways to hurt yourself. You know, like falling up the stairs or spraining your ankle when you get up from a Netflix binge to hit the refrigerator. Oh, and remember that time crazy Uncle Ted swallowed a coin? You really don’t want to add holiday gift wrapping to that list. Here at The Joint Chiropractic, we want your holidays to be as jolly as they can, so we’ve put together this little list to help you stay safe while wrapping all those gifts!

Holiday-Related Injuries? Yeah, Right

Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to avoid holiday-related injuries so far. If so, count yourself lucky. Believe it or not, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that between 2011 and 2015 there were 1,700 holiday-related injuries reported across the United States, from falling off desks or ladders while hanging garland or lights to cutting yourself while opening gifts with a sharp object.

Strains and sprains were the second leading cause (behind lacerations) of holiday-related injury. The lesson to be learned here? Danger is lurking everywhere. And you don’t have to be as accident-prone as Clark W. Griswold to experience it, either. Everyone is just one moment away from electrifying the cat and setting the tree on fire. Be careful out there.

But What Does This Have to Do with the Chiropractor?

The holidays call for lots of gift wrapping and toy assembly. (Spoiler alert!) If only Santa’s little elves really existed -- they would probably need a chiropractor, too! The reality is that spending an extended amount of time in an unhealthy position is hard on your body. Wrapping gifts and putting together that Barbie mansion can put a lot of strain and stress on your back and neck. So, you need a follow a few simple rules in order to keep things pain-free this ho-ho-holiday season and to stay out of the statistics of holiday-related injury.

Your Budget isn’t the Only Thing Stretching

It may seem funny to think about gift wrapping as an activity that requires a warm-up, but believe us when we say it’s necessary! Wrapping gifts is a repetitive activity, so stretching will be important to help you avoid injury. Stretch before you start and take a break about every 30 minutes to stretch some more. Also, try not to sit in the same exact position the whole time, since this can cause muscle fatigue and stiffness that no amount of eggnog can cure.

Don’t Sit on the Floor

The floor may seem like the perfect space to wrap gifts, but it’s not ideal. Sitting on the floor for long stretches of time causes you to lean forward, putting even more strain on your back and neck. Instead, use a table that allows you to sit comfortably in a chair or stand while wrapping presents.

Another great tip is to keep the things you use, such as scissors and tape, close and comfortable to reach. You don’t want to put unneeded strain on your muscles by reaching for things constantly.

Be Careful Lifting

Some holiday gifts are awkward and large. Sure, your kid really wanted that Frozen ride-on sleigh, but it’s not the easiest thing in the world to wrestle from the back of the minivan to the house. Don’t forget the cardinal chiropractic rules of lifting:

  • Stand as close to the object as you can
  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bend at the knees with your pelvis tucked forward and keep your back straight as you squat to the ground
  • Get help if the gift is too heavy
  • Carry the gift as close to the body as you can
  • Use the power the muscles in your legs to lift, not your back
  • Pivot your feet when turning -- never twist your torso
  • Bend at the knee to lower the gift to the ground
  • Curse Disney (or another brand of your choosing) under your breath for creating such large, awkward and expensive items

What If You Get Hurt

If you manage to injure yourself prepping for the holiday, either by wrapping or decorating, then make sure to see a chiropractor at The Joint without delay! You may be able to treat back and neck pain at home temporarily, but underlying problems must be addressed to help you find sustainable relief.

We hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season. But please, keep the coins away from crazy Uncle Ted this year.

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