Your Handbag could be the Cause of Shoulder Pain, a Stiff Neck and Back Pain

The holiday rush to get all your shopping done means being pretty efficient of how you want them packed and carried out of a store. Enter your handbag, big, bulky and up to the task. Unfortunately, that bag, if filled to capacity, will probably give you a sore shoulder, stiff neck and quite possibly back pain.The frenzy of the holiday season and your busy lifestyle warrants that you talk on your cell phone in one hand and carry that big, bulky purse on the other hand is actually intensifying a big problem; you are unevenly distributing weight on one side of your body.

What Can Be Done to Minimize the Damage?

Instead of carrying your bag on the same side, switch back and forth, or carry the bag in front of you. Understandably, it doesn’t look glamorous, but at the end of heavy shopping day, you can prevent your shoulders from aching. The prolonged effect of constantly carrying a heavy bag is like a strenuous workout; you overtax the muscles and induce joint pain if your bag is too heavy. By maintaining the correct form of carrying your bag and keeping the bulk of your purse toward the center of your body, it will help alleviate shoulder and neck pain.

Just remember these helpful tips:

1) A bigger bag doesn’t mean you have to fill it. Keep things to a minimum – a weight of no more than 5-8lbs is recommended.

2) Swap shoulders – this takes some getting used to but it is possible.

3) The wider the shoulder strap, the better the dispersal of weight.

4) Think about the material of the jacket you are wearing; slippery fabric will cause you to hunch your shoulder even more.

5) Watch your posture: are you leaning to one side to help balance the weight?

6) Stretch your neck and shoulder muscles.

According to Dr. Shapiro, “To protect your shoulders from an overuse injury like bursitis, don’t carry a heavy load of bags on one arm. It is best to switch shoulders or carry an even load of bags to distribute the weight safely.” If you are experiencing neck, hand, shoulder or back pain, call Orthopedic Specialists and make an appointment with one of our expert, orthopedic doctors at (206) 633-8100.