The American Chiropractic Association has issued a conclusive statement: if you use extremely large purses, your back may become injured and this will negatively affect your exercise regimen.
This warning is based on concrete data, because experts can assure that the number of doctor visits due to back strain has increased since the use of huge purses has become a fashion trend.
For this reason, be careful not to let fashion cause you discomfort or back damage. A first step is to not carry your bag filled with everything you can think of. Yes, we know it’s a huge temptation for women to carry their “house” in their purse. But, pay attention to the advice below and you’ll feel much lighter and less tired at the end of the day.
Think carefully about what items you’ll really need during the day. Don’t take anything not on that list, whether it be a notebook or an extra pair of shoes.
Amy Youner, from the Rehabilitation Clinic at SportsCare in New York, explained: “Carrying a heavy purse, especially if it's always worn on the same side of the body, could eventually result in a torn elbow muscle.”
Karen Ericsson, a chiropractic doctor and spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association indicated: “In the last year, I’ve seen adult women with the same problem that children used to have when they would carry heavy backpacks over one shoulder.”
Erickson added: “They feel permanent neck pain, and not only while carrying their purses. Many women even suffer from terrible headaches due to this. Now, when I see a patient with these symptoms, I weigh her purse. It always weighs about a ton.”
Erickson also explained that a frequent secondary effect is that one of the elbows gets used to being a little bit higher than the other. “A lot of women talk on the phone while carrying their handbag, only intensifying the problem, because not only do they need to balance the weight on just one shoulder, but they are lifting the elbow at the same time to hold the phone.”
The good news, though, is that this pain is usually temporary. Follow these recommendations to avoid injuries while carrying your favorite purses:
- Massage your elbows once a week, gently stretch them, and take a warm bath with aromatic salts.
- Make sure the weight of your purse is never more than 10% of your own weight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, your purse should never weigh more than 16.
- Choose purses and bags with a wide strap. There is nothing worse for your shoulders than carrying a heavy weight with a thin strap.
- Focus on walking straight. The excess weight in your purse makes you bend towards one side, distorting your back.
- Divide the weight into two smaller purses if one isn’t enough. This will help you balance the weight.
- Keep in mind that papers and folders are very heavy. Don’t become a walking file cabinet. Leave some documents in your office.
- Leave an extra pair of shoes at work, so you don’t have to carry them around every day.
- If you experience any pain, consult with your physician. Don’t let a muscle strain or injury cause a serious injury to your back, or an inflammation that could potentially affect blood passage to your brain.
Remember that any kind of pain will negatively impact your exercise regimen, thus interfering with this key component of a healthy lifestyle.
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