Preventing back and neck pain during the holiday shopping frenzy By Tara Madden Holiday shopping can be just as big a strain on your back and neck as some outdoor winter activities. The load you carry each time you head out to the mall in search of gifts can amount to 15 pounds or more each shopping trip. The combination of a handbag and shopping bags can significantly impact the curvature of your spine. After a day of carting around a huge load, it’s no wonder your back aches. How about that handbag? Have you noticed that no matter how big or small your handbag or briefcase is it seems to always be at maximum capacity? Day after day, that stylish accessory or carry case for work is putting a significant strain on your back, neck and shoulders, potentially leading to serious pain and even disability. Here are some tips from Alberta’s chiropractors to avoid back and neck strain during your holiday shopping:

  • Avoid slinging large bags or a backpack over one shoulder. Evenly balance the weight you carry in each arm or place your smaller bags in a backpack and carry with both shoulder straps on your back.
  • Once you feel you have too heavy a load of bags, drop them off at your car (ensure they are out of sight) and return for more shopping. Most malls have a parcel drop off that you can use to unload heavy parcels as well. This gives your back, hands, neck and shoulders—not to mention your feet—a well deserved break.
  • Put all your gift bags into a cart and push them around to avoid the strain altogether. If you are shopping with young children, use the bottom basket of the stroller to load bags into.
  • Remember to take frequent breaks and put your bags down on a regular basis.
  • Wear good walking shoes with lots of support—your feet and back will thank you.
  • After a long day of shopping, remember to stretch your back, neck and shoulders. After all, you have just completed quite a workout.

If you experience back, muscle or joint pain, consult a chiropractor. Chiropractors are experts in these conditions and are specifically trained to diagnose and effectively treat them. More information on chiropractic, including where to find a chiropractor near you, is available at