As I pack for a welcomed getaway coming up this week, it got me to thinking. Carrying luggage can be a problem, and the last thing I want to do is give myself pain before traveling. In fact, now that I think of it, purses can even be like luggage! I have always been a minimalist when it comes to carrying a bag on a day to day basis, which makes me even more SURPRISED when I see the size of other people's purses or better yet....lift those bags and see how heavy they are.
On a daily basis I watch my patients come into the clinic with bags that are just too heavy. Plain ane simple! A heavy bag can definitely contribute to pain, or even cause it! Carrying a heavy purse may lead to neck pain, shoulder pain, low back pain, muscle spasms, headaches, even numbness and tingling! Let's not forgot the strain it puts on your posture!
Even this TIME article brings attention to the issue!
Here are some helpful hints for decreasing stress placed upon us from using a purse
1) Watch the weight!
Your purse should be no more than ~10% of your body weight, but honestly, less is better. I would recommend no more than 5-6 pounds. You also should strategically organize your bag. Heavier objects should be on the bottom of the bag and closest to your body.
2) Keep it close!
Keeping your bag close to your center of gravity will decrease strain on your posture and create less muscle imbalance and stress.
3) Distribute the weight
Ideally a cross body bag or a back pack will allow for a more even weight distribution. No one truly wants to hold a heavy purse on one side of the body for an extended time, but if you have to, avoid carrying the bag on the right or left for greater than 10 minutes. Make sure to alternate sides!
4) Smaller is better!
The less weight you have to carry, the better! Lets face it....Do we really absolutely need all of the items in our purse?...Or better yet the excess change or receipts? Make sure to clean your purse regularly to avoid forgetting about the particular items inside!
5) Maintain your core strength!
As always, increasing core stability is helpful. It allows for improved posture and decreases the stress that your purse places on you. Being aware of your shoulder and head position is step one. You want to always make sure your shoulders are down and back and that your head is not too far forward. Becoming aware of your body position is I think, one of the hardest tasks to complete! Once you are aware of this you can perform core stability exercises (some which I have outlined below).
DISCLAIMER: These exercises are not intended to serve as medical advice or replace medical examination. If you are experiencing symptoms, please seek medical attention!
Life is stressful as it is. Additional stress from your added purse baggage can be avoided! If you think you have developed pain from carrying your bag or have questions, as always you can feel free to sign up for a FREE consultation here!