Is your Bag weighing you down?
Large handbags are a fashion must but they can pose a risk to posture and could potentially cause or contribute to back problems. The average British woman’s handbag weighs in at an average 5.4lbs (1) filled with all its contents, which is the equivalent of a bag of sugar.
We’re on a “bigger is better” trend, and with all that extra space, we tend to fill it up just because it’s there.
This is bad news for our bodies, though. The extra weight is causing neck pain and back pain. Three-quarters (73%) of women in the UK have had back pain, while 46 per cent wear bags on one side of their body – a key cause of aches, says the British Chiropractic Association (BCA).(2)
How Does That Extra 5 Pounds Really Affect Me?
Carrying a heavy handbag puts a huge amount of stress and strain on your neck and shoulder muscles, especially if you’re on a long shopping trip. Here’s how:
Like carrying a rucksack or backpack on one shoulder, a heavy handbag can pull the spine out of line and cause your body to adapt and compensates for the extra weight you’re carrying. Your neck leans away from the load to help balance it out. This can cause you to strain your neck muscles on the side where you’re carrying your bag.
The shoulder where you’re carrying the load rotates backward, and you subconsciously hold it up all of the time. This tension can cause your muscles in your back and around your shoulder blades to spasm. These tired muscles don’t hold the spine properly and can result in bad posture.
And to make things worse, we’re creatures of habit. We tend to carry our bag on the same side of our body all the time.
Just try it, if you usually carry it over your right shoulder, try switching it to your left. It’s almost like asking you to write with a different hand!
Essential Advice: Keep it Light
Do your best to lighten your load. If the forecast isn’t calling for rain, leave your umbrella at home.
Take Time to Assess What’s in There: Assess what you’re carrying around every day and note the last time you really needed that item.
Mums: If you’re a mum, you may be using your Handbag as a nappy bag with drink cups, nappies, creams, snacks and even books and games stuffed in there. Make a conscious effort to think about what you or your child really need for each day, and only carry around the necessities.
Commuting to work: If you carry a laptop to work, consider using a rucksack style bag, carry it on both shoulders and adjust the straps so that the bag is held close to your back.
And most importantly, stand comfortably when carrying your bag, take a break from carrying your bag and avoid long periods of being in one position, move around regularly and stretch and exercise your back muscles regularly.
Wallets – A Real Pain in the Butt!!!
Ever heard the term “Hip-Pocket Syndrome” or “Wallet Sciatica”?
Many men carry a wallet in their back pocket. Sitting on your wallet all day can be detrimental to your spinal health. Sitting on your wallet can cause an asymmetry that distorts your spine, pelvis and hips. Habitually sitting on your wallet in your back pocket all day will not only affect your spine but also the tissues and structures underneath the wallet. This can cause problems such as low back pain, sacroiliac joint pain, hip pain and even chronic sciatic nerve irritation causing symptoms of sciatica. The obvious and simple way to avoid this is to keep your wallet in your front pocket, put it in your jacket, or ditch it.
Be Posture Safe!
Whether it’s a heavy bag or sitting on a wallet, – long term compensation will result in spinal and postural stress and eventually pain. Hopefully these easy to change solutions will help you manage any discomfort you may have. But, it is always best to check with a chiropractor so they can ensure you are receiving appropriate care to manage your condition!
If you would like some advice, Call us today on 0118 978 7466, we are here to help.
- BCA website httpss://chiropractic-uk.co.uk/