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Handbags: A Potential Risk To Your Back Health

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Your handbag may look stylish, but if it's carrying a heavy load, there's a good chance you are setting yourself up for neck, shoulder, or back pain. When a bag or tote weighs you down, it may cause posture changes and curvature of the spine that can lead to repetitive strain injury of the neck and shoulder, spine misalignment, and back pain. Therefore, it's important to take commonsense steps to avoid muscle strains and stress on the spine that can eventually become serious problems.

  1. Downsize your bag outside and inside. The bigger the bag, the more stuff you may be tempted to tote around in it. Your back will appreciate a sleeker style constructed from a lighter weight material like nylon or fabric. Avoid the use of bags adorned with buckles, zippers, and metal grommets that add even more weight.

    When you carry a large bag that's packed full, the muscles in your shoulder and upper back get tired and don't support the spine as well. This leads to poor posture and wear on the spinal joints. In time, the wear can lead to herniated discs that often occur in the low back.

  2. Lighten the load you carry. Inventory the contents of your bag at the end of each day and remove any unnecessary items that you won't need the next day. Carry only items that you use on a daily basis. Take out loose coins and extra keys you don't use, but that add weight.

    By lightening the load, you help avoid postural changes that can cause changes in the inward curve of the spine at the lower back. Spinal misalignment can also cause a vertebra in your back to slip forward.

  3. Carry your bag the proper way. When carrying a shoulder bag, make it a point to switch sides every few minutes. If you always carry the bag on the same side, you can overwork the muscles on that side and throw off your posture. The unevenly distributed weight on the side where you routinely carry a bag may cause twisting of the spine, which can lead to pain on that side of your back.

    Other options include selecting a purse style with a wider strap that disperses weight more evenly. Or, by wearing wear a shoulder bag with a longer strap diagonally across your body, your trunk muscles will carry more of the weight, putting less stress on your lower back. You also put less stress on your spine by carrying a handbag closer to your body.

  4. Strengthen tight or weakened muscles. Prevent pain in the neck, shoulder and back muscles with regular exercise. Perform neck stretches and rotations, shoulder rolls, and other forms of exercise such as yoga and Pilates to strengthen core and back muscles.

For more information, contact companies like Ultimate Health- A Complete Wellness Center.