Healthy shopping for your spine

Going grocery shopping can be quite tiring and demanding on your back and neck, especially when it comes to carrying the bags all the way home. Now that we are highly encouraged to reuse our bags, we have a tendency to overload the one bag, which makes it too heavy for transport.

Obviously the new law was made to encourage us to reuse our bags so that we can reduce our impact on the environment. The new plastic bags that grocery stores are now selling are bigger, more resistant and re-usable. With this in place, we need to make the habit of reusing them and bring more than one bag when shopping.

The most important thing to remember is not to overload the bag. The best way would be to divide the groceries into two bags so you can be balanced when carrying them. If you only buy a few things and you end up with only one bag, make sure it is a load that you can easily carry and always carry your bag close to your body. There are bigger bags that have longer handles so you can put over your shoulder and keep the load closer to the body.

The weight of the bags is very important but also the way to carry them makes a big difference to your comfort.

Carrying heavy bags improperly can stretch supporting muscles, which can affect the alignment of the spine and cause stiffness and pain. It is not just the back that may be injured but also other joints such as shoulders, arms and neck, which are also involved in lifting.

When you carry a bag, your neck naturally leans away from the load to help carry and balance the weight. This causes tension between the neck and shoulder area, which is where the nerves come together before running into the arm. If there is too much strain on this area, it can cause neck, pain and muscle inflammation.

Remember too that generally your muscles are strongest in their middle third range of movement. This means that your arms’ muscles, for example, cope better with lifting when your elbows are bent. Therefore, do not carry your bags with your arms completely out stretched by your sides.

We recommend the use of a shopping trolley rather than carrying the bags to the car.

Bring more than one bag so you can distribute the weight equally in each one and carry them in a balanced way.

See a chiropractor to get your spine and nerves in the best adaptable way possible. All functions of the body are controlled by the nervous system which passes through the spine. If you already suffer from weakness in your arms and hands or with neck and back pain, you need to sort out this problem first.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Enjoy your shopping time with a pain free spine, and don’t forget to recycle!

By Sandra Genest-Boudreau
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Sandra Genest-Boudreau is French-Canadian, who graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1990 before coming to the Algarve in 2002. She is passionate about adjusting all her patients, particularly children. Christophe Alves graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) UK, and has a special interest in Sport Chiropractic. Algarve Quiroprática clinic: EN125 in Pêra | 282 312 853 | 969 397 375