We are right in the middle of the Holiday season, with Chanukah just finished and Christmas one week away. Maybe you've finished all of your shopping, or maybe you're like me and haven't even started. If you still have to make your annual pilgrimmage to the local asylum, I mean mall, here's a few things you might try to do to help minimize your discomfort. Note: This article deals with physical discomfort. For help with financial discomfort associated with the Holidays I suggest you look for the best sales you can find.
The biggest problem I see related to shopping is the carrying of all of the bags and packages - pocket books included. We don't realize that after three hours and five stores later we have accumulated a lot of excess baggage that we are forced to schlep around for the remainder of our time at the mall. All of that weight being held by your arms is transfered through our muscles in our shoulder and shoulder girdle directly to our neck (this is because many of the shoulder girdle muscles connect from the shoulder girdle directly into the cervical spine itself.) Thanks to gravity, these forces are compressive in nature and squish the individual vertabrae of the spine closer together. This can cause increased disc pressure as well as painful and limited neck range of motion when you try to turn your head.
Here are several solutions depending on your situation:
Use a shopping cart - even if you don't think you need one.
Distribute the weight on both arms and try to make it even on each side - Women make sure you include your pocketbook in the weight distribution.
When standing on that line that stretches from the Broadway mall to the Expressway make sure you put your packages down. Slide them along as you creep closer and closer to the front.
BUY GIFT CARDS!!! Not only are you buying your loved one a gift but you are buying yourslef a pain-free neck!!
Happy Holidays to all and a Happy and Healthy New Year!!
Yours in Health
Chris Ostling PT, DPT