Is Christmas Shopping Causing Your Neck or Back Pain?

We’ve all heard that heavy backpacks can cause serious health problems, but did you know heavy purses can, too? Sure, you may have noticed that after a couple hours of shopping, your purse seems to weigh three times what it did at the beginning of the trip. You probably shrugged it off, thinking it was no big deal. Well, it is a big deal – especially around the holiday season when you’re going to be lugging a purse around more than you do the rest of the year.

Heavy purses can cause neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. Most of the pain is a result of the constant pressure of the strap on your muscles, soft tissues, and nerves. And have you ever noticed that only one side of your neck or back is in pain? The pain is often lopsided because people tend to carry their purse on just one side, instead of switching between the two. In fact, studies have been done that show that the side people habitually carry their purse on is much more muscularly developed. 

In addition, heavy purses can even alter your gait while walking, which can lead to a host of health issues and even cause headaches.

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Tips to Avoid Neck or Back Pain

Are you convinced of the serious problems purses can cause, yet? We hope so, because we have a few tips on how to prevent any purse-related health problems from arising.

  • It’s a good rule of thumb to never let your purse weigh more than 10% of your body weight. Are you a 150-pound person? Limit your purse to 15 pounds or less.
  • Choose purses worn across the shoulder messenger-style. These bags help to distribute the weight more evenly.
  • Purge your purse monthly. Can you think of 15 pounds of essentials you need to have with you at all times? We thought not. Most of the weight in your purse is likely junk.
  • Have multiple purses and let each one serve a different function. Try having a smaller purse for running errands and a larger one for all-day excursions.
  • To avoid lopsidedness, switch which side you carry your purse on often. It may feel weird at first, but something tells us you’ll get used to the feeling.
  • Choose a purse with wider straps to help distribute the weight more evenly.

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If you’re a shop-till-you-drop kind of holiday shopper, we recommend you try implementing some, if not all, of the tips above. For more helpful information like this, please subscribe to our monthly Healthy Back Newsletter below.

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