Dealing with back pain while you’re out shopping can be a real challenge. If shopping used to be enjoyable for you, back pain can really get in the way of the enjoyment of a lot of things in your life. Equally, if you didn’t enjoy shopping to begin with, it can make the experience a lot less bearable. There are definitely things you can implement that help to prevent back pain cases from occurring while you’re out shopping, as well as quick fixes that can make your shopping experience a better one.
The number one factor that can come into play when you’re out shopping is posture. Posture can have a massive effect on experiencing back or neck pain, if you have bad posture in any aspect of life whether that’s out shopping, when you’re at home relaxing in the evening, on your phone during your commute or when you’re sat leaning on your desk, all of these activities can put a lot of pressure on areas of the spine that are not designed to be able to deal with that amount of stress.
How To Fix Your Posture
To fix the problem: be aware of your posture. Stand up straight, chest out, tall posture with your shoulders back and try not to slouch forward. This tip is something you should be trying to implement all the time, not just while you’re out shopping. If you’re at your desk at work and find yourself slouching, check in with yourself multiple times during the day, if your weakness is staring down at your phone for an hour during your commute consider buying a pop-socket – a simple tool that sticks on the back of your phone to make it easier to hold your phone in front of your face. If you can correct your posture the rest of the time, it will make shopping easier while simultaneously helping to prevent any further damage from occurring in your spine.
Taking Frequent Breaks
Where possible, to help your posture as much as possible, you might want to consider making regular trips back to the car if you’re going out shopping for a long period of time or looking to buy multiple things. Instead of loading up pressure on your spine by gradually picking up more shopping bags, this means you never carry more than you can realistically handle. If you were to go into the gym you wouldn’t go and pick up a heavy weight straight away, so don’t do the same when you’re out shopping. If you know that shopping bags affect your back or neck pain significantly, perhaps think about browsing first to decide what you’re going to buy so you can then buy them all in one go and return to the car – that way you’re not carrying the bags for any longer than you need to. Perhaps you can also pick what you want to buy and then order online if it’s convenient for you to do so, so that you’re not stuck getting them home or walking for long periods holding bags that are too heavy for you to comfortably handle and keep good posture. If you try to do an exercise with a weight at the gym that’s too heavy for you, it’s normal to start compensating by using other parts of your body to help you perform the exercise – this isn’t good at the gym and certainly isn’t if you’re trying to help your back.
Strengthening Your Back & Core
The next step to try to help you when you’re in this kind of situation is to recognise that your muscles are failing to deal with the load that you’re putting them under, so you need to do something to strengthen them up. The most important muscles to strengthen in order to help relieve your back pain, is your core, your legs, and your upper back so you’re able to carry more load. This goes for whether you’re training in the gym, carrying shopping bags or simply carrying every day items. In a lot of cases, back pain can occur in combination with having weaker back and core muscles. If your body is used to carrying extra weight during exercise and your core is stronger, then you’re going to be able to support your body more effectively when you’re shopping and have less trouble in the long run. If you’d like to strengthen your back and core muscles, we often recommend reformer pilates as there’s a strong emphasis on keeping the back in a good position and is very good for beginners. We also offer our own back and core strengthening program called the Back in Shape program which you can find here, or you can go to the gym and strengthen the muscles that support your spine so that when you perform certain activities you’re more effective and doing less damage.
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