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Some mundane tasks performed on a regular basis can take a noticeable toll on the spine and its various parts. Regular grocery shopping is one of them. You can’t avoid this task altogether, especially if you have a hungry family to feed, but there are some things you can do to avoid back pain when going to the grocery store.

Go to the Store During Less Busy Times

Driving to and from the grocery store can place added stress on both your lower back and neck. Cut down on your time spent behind the wheel by doing your shopping during less busy times, such as early in the morning or on weekdays when traffic is more likely to be light.

Use Motorized Carts

If you’re being treated by your doctor or a Santa Monica spine surgeon for existing spine issues or back pain that’s usually triggered by long periods of standing, using one of these sit-and-go carts can take pressure off your spine’s bones, discs, and joints. Ask about motorized carts at the customer service desk if you don’t see any available.

Ask for Help with Hard-to-Reach Items

Struggling to reach an item on a high shelf greatly increases the risk of stretching spine-supporting muscles. While it may seem like it’s too much trouble to ask a grocery store employee or fellow customer to lend a hand, your spine will thank you for erring on the side of caution.

Watch Your Posture as You Shop

It’s easy to forget about your posture when you’re busy double-checking your grocery list or keeping an eye on your kids as you make your way through aisles, but posture oversights can contribute to disc wear and tear, muscle strain, and other common sources of back pain. Mind your posture as you shop by:

• Not hunching or leaning forward as you push your cart
• Bending at your knees when you have to get things off lower shelves or lift your child and put him or her in the cart’s seat
• Standing up straight as you wait in line, go through aisles, and go back to your car

Wear the Right Footwear

Walking around a grocery store can contribute to foot aches and pains that could affect your gait. If the way you stand changes to compensate for foot pain, you may end up throwing off your spine’s alignment or overstressing lower back muscles. Avoid this potential problem by wearing comfortable, supportive shoes as you shop.

Get Some Help When You Get Home

Get family members to help you take the groceries out of your car when you get back home. Consider investing in a small wheeled cart you can use to transport heavier bags or items into your home when nobody is around to help.

Make It Easier to Put Things Away in Your Kitchen

Place items you don’t buy or use that often on higher shelves, and place the things that nearly always end up on your weekly grocery list within easy reach. Doing so will minimize the need to excessively reach or stretch your spine-supporting muscles as you hurry to get things stashed away.

If you regularly need groceries and want to ease the burden on your spine, another option is to take advantage of delivery options offered by some local grocery stores. Some stores also allow you to select your items online and pick them up at a preselected time. Also, check in with your doctor or a spine specialist if you notice sudden or worsening back pain after you’ve been to the grocery store.

Back pain and injuries caused by normal wear and tear from everyday activities can be treated in a variety of ways. At The Spine Institute, we specialize in minimally invasive fusion and non-fusion procedures, such as artificial disc replacement and spinal fusion alternatives. Santa Monica patients can rely on our team of spine health experts to determine the best way to prevent back pain and treat spine injuries related to everyday life. Call one of our friendly staff members today at 310-828-7757.