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Don't let holiday shopping be backbreaking

It's a well-known fact that holiday shopping can be hard on your wallet. But it's less well known, perhaps, that it can also be hard on your back.

Spending long hours on your feet and carrying heavy packages and bags can take a real toll. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to save your spine:

  • Wear comfortable, flat shoes as opposed to high heels. Choose those with plenty of cushioning in the soles.
  • Leave your purse at home. Carry must-have items in a small backpack or fanny pack.
  • Make a shopping list. Planning ahead makes it easier to have assistance on hand if you need help moving heavy purchases.
  • Shop at off-peak times. It may reduce the time you spend standing in lines.
  • When carrying shopping bags, distribute the weight as evenly as possible on both sides of your body.
  • Carry as little as possible. Use shopping carts, and make frequent trips to your car to drop off purchases. If you're shopping in a mall with lockers or a bag check, make use of them.
  • Take occasional breaks. And if your back starts to ache, apply ice for 20 minutes at a time every few hours. It may help ease your discomfort.

Sources: American Chiropractic Association; American Physical Therapy Association

reviewed 5/20/2016

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