With Christmas preparations in full swing across the country, we thought it would be a good time to remind all of you going out to hunt down presents for loved ones, to be wary when carrying all those gifts around the shops.

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Carrying heavy bags can potentially be problematic, especially if you have pre-existing conditions that have the potential to flare up from With Christmas preparations in full swing across the country, we thought it would be a good time to remind all of you going out to hunt down presents for loved ones, to be wary when carrying all those gifts around the shops. |

Shoulder, neck, upper back and elbow pain are common complaints we see from patients carrying heavy items incorrectly or for prolonged periods. So here are a few tips to make sure you can minimise the risk of hurting yourself on the run up to Christmas!

1. Carry less.
Use shopping centres bag drop off points to store bags so you do not need to lug them around all day. Alternately make a trip to the car if you cant comfortably carry everything!

2. Split the load.
Carrying on one side means you will be walking around trying to counter the weight pulling you over to one side. Try to evenly split what you carry between both sides.

3. Change how your carrying bags or what type of bag your carrying things in.
If you have to walk home from shops, try taking a rucksack to place heavier items in. If you only have one bag to carry, periodically switch the side you’re carrying it on. Try not to carry for long periods with your elbow bent at 90 degrees, as this can stress your bicep tendon leading to tendonitis in your shoulder.

4. Strengthen your core and upper body strength.
If you’re stronger, you will fatigue less quickly. Improved posture while carrying can help minimise overuse and stress on certain areas of the body.

Callum Watson, Osteopath at the Harrison Clinician