Christmas Low Back Pain – Avoiding Injury whilst putting up your Christmas Tree

With Christmas approaching fast, it’s time to get your Christmas tree and dust off your decorations.

One of the most common decoration-related injuries through the festive period is low back pain. Lugging the 6-foot (or bigger) tree into your car or out of the attic and twisting to put the fairy lights on, can be tricky manoeuvres.

If you’ve found yourself in this painful position and need some help, book an appointment to see one of our Physiotherapists

What is a Lower Back Strain?

Low Back Pain refers to any pain from the bottom of your ribs to the top of your legs. A strain can be an injury to any of the many structures found in your back.

They are often caused by overloading structures in the back and can be as simple as putting the lower back muscles under a bit too much strain (e.g. repetitive bending down to manoeuvre the Christmas tree) and twisting the lower back (e.g. putting the fairy lights on the tree).

After a lower back strain, normal function generally returns in four to six weeks.


Top Tips to Avoid Christmas Low Back Pain

  • Get help lifting heavy items
  • Use a step ladder rather than stretching to put the decorations up
  • Bend your knees and stick your bottom out a little when lifting heavy items
  • Put the decorations on a chair or table to avoid repeated bending to the floor
  • Get strong and stay strong throughout the year


How Should we Manage an Acute Lower Back Strain?

If you are unlucky enough to strain your lower back, during the acute phase (first 72 hours after injury) cold compresses, painkillers (such as paracetamol) and anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofen) can often help ease your symptoms. [You should seek guidance from your pharmacist or GP when considering medications].

Some relative rest can help to promote healing during the acute phase. Sitting in a supportive, comfortable chair with your hips higher than your knees, often seems to help. To maintain the natural curve in your lower back, you may like to use a rolled-up towel in the small of your back too.

What’s really important is that you start to regain your movement and strength as quickly as possible. At Head2Toe Physio we can help you manage the acute phase of your lower back strain. We can also help progress you through your recovery with the right kind of rehab exercises, as well as ‘bullet proof’ you to prevent recurrence next Christmas!


At Head2Toe Physio, we’ll help you work out what works best and plan a rehab program that suits you.

Exercises are often prescribed and a range of manual therapy techniques used. Techniques used might include massage, joint and soft tissue manipulation, acupuncture , taping and electrotherapy.

All our Physiotherapists are highly qualified, experienced, with a variety of post graduate specialisations. If you or anyone you know would like to have a physiotherapy assessment with the team at Dorking , Leatherhead or Crawley , book your appointment here

Blog post guest written by Evie Spreadbury, Physiotherapist, DorkingLeatherhead, & Crawley Clinics.

Evie Spreadbury