When I ask clients when they come in how they are feeling, the first complaint of the vast majority is their neck and shoulder area.
Many of my female clients say this just after dropping their purse on the floor, making a loud whump.
So I ask how much is in the bag. Invariably, the answer is “too much”. I already know this because the pictures on the wall have moved.
A current trend is toward larger bags, and hey, since there’s room, let’s fill them up.
I get the temptation to take things because you need it or might need it. But after the need is gone, the item stays in the bag and calls for its friends to join them for an adventurous trip courtesy of your shoulders. I also get the almost irresistible challenge felt by kids and husbands to see how much they can add to the bag.
This issue is not limited to purses. Anything we carry around can be overloaded. Recently a high school student I know began suffering headaches. It was finally traced it to carrying a heavy bookbag on one shoulder. A quick adjustment by a chiropractor and a change of routine got rid of the headaches.
Also, just because a bag is not heavy does not mean you should carry two or three of them at once.
The problem is the weight of the bag affects your posture. The muscles of the shoulder, neck, and upper back on the side of the bag are being pulled in that direction. The muscles on the other side of the body then compensate and pull the opposite way to keep you relatively upright.
The combination of the weight, posture change, and using your muscles this way is a recipe for pain.
Take a few minutes regularly to investigate what you carry around daily. Leave some things behind with a promise to take them on a trip again someday. They probably are getting bored in there anyway.
Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio. Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com