Give yourself a present this holiday season: Take
precautions to prevent injuries when trying to lift
and carry bulky presents, heavy luggage or other objects.
"During the holiday season, we see a significant
rise in patients who are experiencing back, shoulder
and neck pain," says Kendra Harrington, a physical
therapist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington,
"Many [people] have desk jobs and are fairly inactive
most of the year. Rushing around and carrying too
many things at once, and in the wrong way, places
added stress on bodies, which may increase the chance
of injury," Harrington said.
Simple steps can help you avoid muscle and joint
discomfort. The American Physical Therapy Association
offers the following tips:
- Weigh it first. Test an object's weight
before you lift it. First, try pushing it with your
foot. If something is too heavy, try to break it
down into smaller loads.
- Get in position. Keep your feet shoulder-width
apart and bend your knees when lifting.
- Let legs lift. Lift with your legs, not
your back. Don't lean over an object to lift it.
Stand close to the object, bend your legs and keep
your back straight, then lift.
- Maintain balance. When you're shopping,
maintain your balance by distributing the weight
of shopping bags equally on both sides of your body.
- Shop light. Don't carry a heavy purse.
Consider using a fanny pack or a small, properly
fitted and positioned backpack.
- Favor your feet. Wear comfortable shoes
when you shop, such as walking or running shoes.
Many people suffer foot and ankle injuries from
carrying packages while wearing high heels on hard
- Take a load off. Don't carry overstuffed
shopping bags for long periods of time. Make repeated
trips to your car to unload your purchases. Consider
using a shopping cart or get help to take packages
to your car.
- Get treatment. If you do suffer a back
injury, see a physical therapist so that a minor
back injury doesn't develop into recurrent lower
- More information
on Back Injuries
Reference Source 101