Shop ‘Til You Drop?


The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year and the official green light on holiday decorations! But this time of year often comes with added emotional stress and physical strain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 50,000 people every year sustain some sort of winter-related back injury, and 5,800 of those are holiday shopping and decorating-related.

Your back could be strained from “shopping ’til you drop” and carrying bulky packages with tension on the back, neck and shoulders (think multiple bags slung over your shoulder). You can over reach or increase risk of falls while putting up decorations. There’s also potential for injury while lugging heavy suitcases and loading cars.

“The added demands of this season can max our bodies, but there are things we can do to help keep our bodies healthy. Drink plenty of water, stretch, and take a few minutes to slow down in the bustle of the season,” Dr. Chuck Childs says.

Here are a few other tips to make it through the holiday season with a healthy spine:

Safe Decorating

Don’t over reach. Use a step stool or ladder and move the ladder as need so you don’t lean or side-reach.

Keep your body centered on the ladder to maintain balance and decrease undue pressure on your back.

Take your time. Rushing the job can lead to mis-judging distances and over-reaching.

When carrying heavy or cumbersome items, ask for help. Sometimes even light items can be dangerous to maneuver when too large or awkward to carry.

Plan Ahead

Stay hydrated! Drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Coffee and sodas contain caffeine and sugar, which add even more stress to your body.

Stretch before and after a long day of shopping or decorating. Stress causes the muscles to tighten where they are less flexible than usual.

Consider adequate footwear – shoes with cushioning to absorb the impact of walking on hard surfaces, or flat soles to provide good support on ladders.

Leave heavy purses at home. Pack only those items that are absolutely essential (driver’s license, credit card, etc.) in a small backpack (or rock the fanny pack!).

During a day of heavy shopping, take a break every 45 minutes.

Wrapping Gifts

There is no “ideal” position for wrapping gifts, but it’s important to vary your positions. Try standing at a table or countertop or sitting in a comfortable chair.

Do not wrap packages while sitting on the floor, which can wreak havoc on your posture and strain your neck.

Stretch before and after you wrap gifts.

Chiropractic Care Can Help

If you start to feel some pain through these holiday activities, try applying an ice bag to the affected area for 20 minutes, and repeat every couple of hours, a few times a day over the next day or two. If the pain or discomfort continues, consider a visit to your chiropractor. We can provide treatments to help alleviate your pain naturally and get your spine in alignment so you can enjoy the holiday season.