Holiday shopping is stressful to your body, as well as your wallet, having the potential for a backache afterwards. Driving from store to store, getting in and out of the car, bundled in a sweater and winter coat, the expert shopper carries package after package from the store, to the car, over and over again. Six, eight, or ten hours later, the shopper arrives home exhausted, only to realize that 15, or 20 packages must be carried from the car into the house. This dilemma is compounded by the fact that the rain turned to sleet, and the sleet to snow. Travel by car and foot are treacherous.
You are slipping and sliding all the way from the car to the house while carrying multiple packages of various sizes and shapes. The shopping bags get wet and tear, forcing you to tilt your body as you carry the packages. Of course, no one is home to help you unload the car and you make the trip several times alone. You get into the house exhausted and crash onto the couch. You fall asleep slouched and slumped in an overstuffed pillow chair. Hours later you wake up with a stiff neck and a backache from shopping. You wonder what happened to your neck and back.
Consider the following:
Lack of sleep and stress – can cause your muscles to tighten up and spasm.
Try to get a good night sleep before a day of shopping
Lessen the stress by preparing a shopping list, organizing a sequence to visit stores in a logical order
Try not to “do it all” in one shopping day.
Delegate…get some help from family members.
Driving Long Distances or Getting in and out of the car multiple times
Prolonged sitting and driving, especially with poor posture is very stressful to the neck and back
Getting in and out of the car, twisting and turning multiple times, especially with bulky clothing, is very stressful to the neck and back
Use a lumbar roll when sitting in the car
Sit up straight and adjust seat closer to steering wheel and limit reaching with arms and slouching
Use the headrest for your neck on the highway
Get out and stretch backwards to extend your neck and back every 45-60 minutes in the car
Make a few extra trips to the car to drop off packages before they accumulate
Multiple packages of different sizes and shapes, especially with torn bags or without handles make your neck and back vulnerable
Bending over to browse through or paying for items, especially while holding your purse or other packages, makes your neck and back strain
Bending over and twisting to put items in the car and trunk makes you vulnerable to back pain
Use good quality shopping bags and a cart when possible
Put down items when browsing or paying
Do stretching exercises bending you neck backwards, extending your lower back and pinch your shoulder blades together 10 times every 30 minutes of shopping
Use a lightweight purse when shopping or use a wallet and leave the purse at home
Slipping and twisting
Twisting and slipping while carrying packages can twist and strain your back or neck
Be extra careful in bad weather by wearing good shoes with a nonskid sole
Switch sides, alternating from right to left when you carry your packages and your purse
Resting or sleeping in a slouched position
Falling asleep on too many pillows or with your neck twisted is very bad for your neck and your lower back in a hammock position is very bad for your lower back
Make sure to lie down flat, with one pillow for your neck and maybe one under your knees
If you sit, use a lumbar roll in the small of your lower back
Heels and most dress shoes may look good but don’t cut it for shopping support
Wear comfortable shoes with good support like you wear to walk at Disney
Pamper Yourself - After all your hard work, in the spirit of the spirit of the holidays, treat yourself to some great relaxation with the aid of:
A Full Body Massage:
A Foot MassageA PedicureA Whirlpool Bath
Some Wine and Cheese
Plan Ahead: It is very stressful on your spirit, wallet and back to do all of your shopping in the three weeks available after Thanksgiving. Even though we dislike “rushing” past Thanksgiving to the next holiday, try to begin holiday shopping in before
Use the Internet: Supporting local businesses is important. However, Internet shopping can save you lots of wear and tear. Sometimes, you can even get a gift wrapped.
Gift Certificates: While gift certificates may be impersonal, they are easy, convenient and can also be purchased over the internet.
Perform Stretching Exercises: Stretch intermittently throughout the shopping day…try the three exercises below, gently, slowly, hold 3 seconds and relax, repeat 5 times.
Model: Paul Mackarey, PT, DPT, Clinic Director, Mackarey PT
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.
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This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: email@example.com
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!