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Beware of Back and Joint Injuries on Halloween

Now that trick-or-treating is again a CDC-approved Halloween activity, here are some tips on how to keep it enjoyable and pain-free, even for participating grown-ups. At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we have been successfully treating patients with back and joint injuries nonsurgically for many years. Every autumn, some come to us after suffering Halloween-related injuries. Here are some recommendations to keep you and your children safe as the leaves fall.

Before Deciding on a Costume, Consider if It Will Put You at Risk of Injury 

Slip and fall accidents due to overly long costumes, fancy or uncomfortable footwear (e.g. high heels, unsupportive or slippery shoes), and masks that impair peripheral vision are all too common. Don’t pay for a night of fun with a tendon or ligament injury that will bother you through Christmas!

It’s difficult enough to navigate the sidewalks full of goblins while herding small children at dusk or dark. Don’t let your costume or mask make it more likely that you will fall. Also, make sure you and your children are visible by wearing glow tape and carrying a flashlight.

Don’t Strain Your Muscles Before the Holiday Even Begins

A fair number of musculoskeletal and spinal injuries happen as a result of overexertion while decorating — an activity that typically involves climbing, reaching, and lifting. Unless you are in excellent shape, to begin with, and particularly if you are a person “of a certain age,” prepare for such activities by doing some stretching and strengthening exercises before you begin.

Apart from cuts incurred while carving jack-o’-lanterns, the majority of injuries due to decorating involve:

  • Losing balance while climbing a ladder or standing on a chair
  • Lifting heavy pumpkins
  • Reaching across bushes to spread make-believe spider webs
  • Bending improperly to plant fake headstones, skeletons, ghosts, etc.
  • Carrying toddlers (and at times their older siblings) when they tire while trick-or-treating
  • Tripping due to costumes that restrict natural leg movement
  • Slipping on vestiges of smashed pumpkins or shaving cream

On the Other Hand, Don’t Hurt Yourself Disguised as a Couch Potato

If you have no children to chaperone and plan to veg out during Halloween watching spooky movies, remember to get up and walk around once in a while and to stretch during commercials or when your movie is paused. Many of our patients can attest to the fact that slouching for long periods of time can cause as much trouble as improper movement or exercise.

Helpful Suggestions to Protect You from Halloween Hazards

Taking the following precautions can make Halloween, and the holidays that come after, more fun and far less terrifying:

  1. Hem all costumes to a safe length to avoid tripping
  2. Avoid costumes that restrict ability to walk naturally or involve carrying 

heavy backpacks (the weight of all that candy will be more than enough)

  1. Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes with good traction
  2. Don’t plan to place decorations in hard-to-reach places
  3. Have assistance if climbing to hang lights or other decorations
  4. Make sure you and your children are visible at dusk and in the dark
  5. Be alert and warn your children to pay attention — the adventure and prospect of sweets (not to mention the sugar rush!) can be very distracting
  6. Bring a stroller or wagon for potentially tired or sleepy children

If All Else Fails, Contact Us at One of Our Convenient Long Island Locations

If, in spite of your best efforts, you twist your neck, pull your hamstring, pinch a nerve or herniate a disc, give our pain management team a call. We are well-prepared to relieve your pain and restore your mobility through numerous well-proven methods, both traditional and complementary. Come in for an accurate diagnosis and an expert assessment of which nonsurgical treatment methods will work best. We’ll have you up and haunting in no time. Call today.