Avoiding Pain While Shopping This Holiday Season
By Jodi Remsen
The holidays are here and many of us will find ourselves shopping for gifts and carrying many heavy bags. It is important to use proper lifting and carrying techniques when shopping in order to avoid stress or strain to the low back, mid-back, neck and shoulders.he holidays are here and many of us will find ourselves shopping for gifts and carrying many heavy bags.
Here are a few “strain free” tips to remember while hunting for deals:
■ Use a shopping cart when available.
■ Distribute weight equally: If carrying four bags, hold two bags in each hand.
■ Wear comfortable footwear: High heels push the body forward; your body compensates by adjusting your posture, increasing the load to the low back and causing pain.
■ Take breaks as needed.
■ Stay hydrated: Bring water to drink.
■ Unload when you can: If you find yourself carrying many bags, take a trip to the car to lock the bags in the trunk before continuing your shopping.
■ Lift with your legs, not with your back: Don’t bend over from the waist to pick up items or bags. Instead, bend your knees and hips, keeping the back straight. Bending from the waist puts increased tensile forces to the low back, intensifying your chance for injury.
■ Keep heavy objects close to your body: Holding weighted objects away from your body increases the load to your spine.
■ If something is too heavy, ask for help.
■ Keep your purse light: Only carry the essentials to decrease load on your shoulders and neck.
Let’s keep our holiday cheer by protecting our backs and keeping them healthy as we enjoy the festive decorations and great season deals. Contact your doctor or your physical therapist if you experience low back, mid-back, neck or shoulder pain, or to learn more about using good body mechanics to keep these areas pain-free throughout the year.
Jodi Remsen received her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from New York Medical College and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Marymount University. She works with Advantage Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation in Manassas and Gainesville and can be reached at 571-229-1111 www.aptronline.com