Don't Shop Till You Drop

Protect your back and feet when you hike for holiday bargains

FRIDAY, Nov. 28, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Tradition has it that the day after Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday-season shopping sprint.

But experts caution that the demands of carrying burdens of packages and bags for long periods of time in crowded malls and downtowns that are too hot or too cold can give you back pain and sore feet.

Dr. Andrew Casdan, associate director of the Spine Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center, offers the following advice on how to avoid or reduce this physical toll:

  • Don't cram all your shopping in at once. Space out your shopping trips and buy one or two items at a time. This will help keep you more relaxed and it means you won't have to lug a load of heavy packages.
  • Balance your shopping bags to prevent putting too much strain on one side of your body.
  • Carry packages as close to your body as possible to lessen wear and tear on your back muscles.
  • Remember proper lifting technique when hefting your packages and shopping bags. Use your legs, bend your knees and keep your back straight.
  • Buy the heaviest gifts last or leave them at the store until you're ready to pick them up.
  • Wear comfortable non-slip shoes that let you wiggle your toes and let your feet breathe.
  • Take snack breaks and drink water.

More information

Here's where you can find more holiday health and safety tips.

SOURCE: Spine Institute of Beth Israel Medical Center, news release, November 2003
Consumer News