Even Santa Has Back Pain

Headshot of Jack R. Pines M.D.
Written by: Jack R. Pines M.D.

We have all had a busy and unconventional year, and the holidays are no exception. However, there is one guy who has worked extra hard to make sure Christmas 2020 is still just as special and full of magic and wonder: Santa Claus! Can you imagine having to travel around the entire world, going in and out of chimneys, carrying that heavy sack of toys all while wearing a mask and being extra careful? Santa and his crew have a tough night ahead of them this December, and they need to be mindful to watch out for back pain and injuries.

Santa's Elves have Back Pain

At the North Pole, Santa's elves have been toiling away all year long to build toys for all the children around the world. This job gets tougher every year, because now the elves are hunched over building tablets and gaming systems instead of traditional gifts like toy trains and teddy bears.

Poor working posture can cause neck and back problems, so the elves make sure they adjust their workstation to fit them while they are working. We should learn from the elves and ensure our workspace is as ergonomic as possible. It may be a bit more difficult, now that so many of us are working from home, but it is still just as important. Avoid working situations like using your laptop sitting on your sofa; instead, set up a workspace where your chair and computer monitors can be adjusted specifically for you.

Of course, we could not have made it through 2020 without our brave first responders and all the local businesses that fought to stay open for us, but even these amazing people are not immune to aches and pains from working long hours on their feet. If your job is primarily standing, be sure to invest in appropriate footwear for the job and a shock absorbing mat to relieve foot and ankle strain.

Santa's Reindeer have Back Pain

Pulling Santa's sleigh is hard work, even when you have eight other reindeer helping you. However, the reindeer have figured it out. A running start is the only way to get that heavy sleigh off the ground. They have figured out that leg muscles are stronger than back muscles when it comes to lifting, and we are no exception to that rule of thumb. Any time you are pulling or lifting, you need to keep your back straight and let your legs do the work. The muscles in your back are small and weak compared to the big strong ones in your legs. If you force your back muscles to do the heavy lifting, you are setting yourself up for severe injury. Whether you are pulling a sleigh or moving around Christmas decorations, always let your legs do the work.

St. Nick has Back Pain Too

Even though Santa is only on call one day out of the year, I do not think anyone envies his job. Getting around the world in one night is difficult enough, not to mention lugging around a sack stuffed with toys for every child in the world. Santa needs to make sure he is lifting with his legs and squatting down when he picks up a box. By lifting from the box's center of gravity and making sure to keep the box close to his body, Santa can make sure he is lifting efficiently and that his back muscles are not doing the work.

Once the holiday season is over, Santa, his elves and his reindeer will all be taking a trip to Resurgens Spine Center for a checkup. If you have a taxing holiday season, or just want to make sure all is well moving into the New Year, you might want to visit Resurgens as well. We are happy to help you prepare for a safe and healthy 2021.