Shopping Carts As A Potential Back Pain Trigger

There are a lot of things you do in your everyday life that contribute to back pain, and pushing a shopping cart may be one of them. The constant bending and twisting motions that pushing and unloading the cart puts on your spine can lead to upper or lower back problems. The following tips will give you a better understanding of how the way you handle a shopping cart can affect your spine and cause back pain.

Why the Design of a Shopping Cart Matters

The design of some shopping carts is partly responsible for causing back pain. Carts that are wide can be hard to maneuver. But a cart with larger wheels requires less exertion on your part, making it easier to push.

A shopping cart that is deep can present problems as well. With a deep cart, you need to bend down farther to put items into the cart and again to take the items out when unloading the cart at the cashier lane.

Reaching far puts your body out of proper alignment, which stresses the spine. You should avoid bending so far over that your back is parallel to the floor.

Watch the Weight of the Load You Push

Keep in mind that you have to lean your body weight into the cart to push it. The more stuff you put into a shopping cart, the heavier it is to push. A fully loaded cart can be especially difficult to push around corners and through cluttered or narrow aisles. If you suffer from chronic back pain, lighten the load in the cart and plan your shopping trip so that you can cover a shorter distance in the store.

How Not to Bend

Try to avoid hunching over as you push a shopping cart. Although hunching over the cart may be a natural reaction if you feel tired while shopping, bending over from a standing position puts strain on your back. Bending at the waist puts strain on the lower back in particular, which can eventually cause spinal disc problems, such as a herniated disc.

How to Bend

Because it's important to keep your back as straight as possible as you bend, bend at the hips and not your waist so that you don't over-exert your back muscles. By putting more of your weight on your legs, you decrease the stress on your back muscles, helping to prevent lower back pain.

Bend your knees slightly and tighten your stomach muscles as you push a shopping cart. Lean in a bit toward the cart, using your legs and the weight of your body to push it. Strong core muscles also help support your lower back as you push.

Along with bending the proper way when pushing or loading a shopping cart, pivot with your feet when you turn from a store shelf to put an item in the cart. It's healthier for your back to turn by moving your whole body, as twisting your spine can cause muscle strain or other back problems. For more tips on how to protect your spine from unhealthy movements, contact a professional at Beltline Chiropractic.