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Holiday Shopping Shouldn’t Be a Pain in the Neck – or Back

As the day after Thanksgiving – one of the biggest shopping days of the year – approaches, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) in partnership with the Massachusetts Chiropractic Society urge you to treat holiday shopping as an athletic event to ward off the stress and strain that often accompanies this otherwise joyous season.

Before you race out at 6 a.m. to that great department store sale, the associations offer the following check list to help you avoid back, neck and other musculoskeletal pain:

1.Drink water frequently throughout the day to keep your muscles and body hydrated.

2.Stretch before and after a long day of shopping. When you are under stress, your muscles are less flexible than usual.

3.Wear shoes with plenty of cushioning in the soles to absorb the impact of walking on hard shopping mall floors.

4.Make sure the clothing you wear is as comfortable as possible. You may be going from a cold environment (outdoors) to a warm environment (indoors), so wear layers.

5.Leave your purse at home. Wear a light fanny pack or a light backpack instead. Pack only those items that are absolutely essential (driver’s license, credit card, etc.).

6.Plan frequent breaks into your shopping day – at least once every 45 minutes for most people. Those with less stamina may need to take a break every 20-30 minutes.

  • When taking breaks, eat light foods. A salad and some fruit is a better option than a burger and fries.


  • Skip the coffee break. Coffee contains caffeine, which dehydrates you and adds even more stress to your body.


7.If possible, obtain a locker – and drop your packages there during your breaks. Don’t carry around more than is absolutely necessary at one time.
If your mall or shopping center doesn’t offer lockers, plan frequent trips to your car.

8.Once You’re Home and Wrapping Your Gifts…

  • Since there is no “ideal” position for wrapping gifts, the most important thing to remember is to take breaks often. Get up and stretch, or go make some hot apple cider.


  • Do not wrap packages while sitting on a hard floor. This can wreak havoc on your posture.


  • Always stretch before and after you wrap gifts. Stretch the opposites; if you are leaning forward when wrapping your gifts, stretch backward when you are done.


  • Chiropractic Care Can Help

    If you experience pain or discomfort as a result of holiday shopping, apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes, then take it off for a couple of hours. Repeat a couple of times each day over the next day or two. In addition, plan a visit to a chiropractor, who can help alleviate your pain naturally.

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