Christmas shopping and neck/shoulder/back care

Christmas shopping and neck/shoulder/back care

With Christmas just around the corner, how are you going to make sure you look after your neck, shoulders and back during the busy festive season?

Whether you are food shopping, buying gifts or even your everyday handbag; lifting and carrying heavy bags places additional stress on your shoulders, neck and back that can lead to an increased risk of injury.

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. It moves in a variety of directions, and therefore what we gain in mobility we give up in stability. With this in mind it is important that we protect this complex joint as we lift more over the Christmas period.

How can you reduce your risk of injury?

  • Reduce the amount of weight you carry. There are no hard and fast rules with how much you should carry, but continually lifting heavy bags can place unnecessary stress on the body and lead to long-term postural problems.
  • Evenly distribute the weight between two bags (holding one in each hand) as opposed to holding more weight on one side of your body
  • Take an extra trip to and from the car to avoid overloading the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the neck, shoulders and back – the extra tripcould save you from injury!

Posture, posture, posture

Posture plays a crucial role in injury prevention. When we use the correct muscles in the correct way we reduce our risk of injury. A few tips to remember:

  • Lengthen through your head, neck and spine and draw your shoulders back and down as you lift.
  • Picture a draw string holding your head as you carry the bags evenly in both hands
  • Draw your neck back and tuck your chin pretending that you are holding a golf ball under your chin – this will help to activate the correct neck muscles whilst avoiding unnecessary loading to the upper back and shoulder muscles to compensate
  • Bend from your knees and use those bottoms (gluteal) muscles instead of loading up your lower back when lifting bags from the floor.

Prevention is better than cure!

There are a number of exercises and stretches that can help you to minimise your risk of injury, speak to one of our friendly physiotherapists today to find out how you can enjoy an injury free Christmas!

About author: Sophie Garrity Sophie is a qualified physiotherapist graduating from the University of Melbourne with a Doctor of Physiotherapy.

Her areas of interest include Pilates, women’s health, occupational rehabilitation and low back pain. She finds it extremely rewarding to see how treatment and participation from patients can create significant changes in their conditions and overall quality of life.

Sophie is passionate about creating a meaningful experience for all of her patients; she enjoys building rapport and providing a patient-centred approach to her patients. Outside of the clinic, Sophie enjoys great Melbourne coffee, going to the gym, running (socially!), travelling, spending time with family and friends as well as trying out new restaurants and bars Melbourne has to offer.