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Chiropractic: It's in the Bag!

By Krista Elliott

There's not much I love more than a nice bag. Even if my weight fluctuates, my cherry-red tote is a reliable workhorse that always looks great, rendering even a simple T-shirt and jeans more stylish and chic than before. 

Being a working mom, though, I tend to carry a lot in my bag. I've had everything in there from baked goods to a Nobel Peace Prize medallion (true story). Just this week, in my purse, I've carried the following items (often all at the same time): 

  • My Chromebook
  • My overstuffed wallet
  • A makeup bag
  • Baby wipes and training pants
  • A bottle of water
  • A book
  • My tablet
  • Decorative gourds
  • Sheet music for Pachelbel's Canon
  • A rain jacket

So needless to say, my bag can get a little bit heavy at times. I know I'm not alone, however, in my purse-as-catchall tendencies. In a recent study, the average weight of a woman's purse? A whopping 6.27 pounds. 

Not only is it tiring to carry around that much extra weight, but it's also disastrous for our spine and joints. In most cases, we're not carrying around sensible backpacks. Instead, we're carrying all of that weight on one shoulder (or dangling from one hand). So, we have to overcompensate to keep our balance, leading to some pretty uneven muscular forces being exerted on our spine and joints. The results are almost predictable: 

  • Headaches: Hitching up your shoulder to keep your heavy bag in place creates stress on your upper back and neck, which can result in nasty headaches.
  • Misaligned Joints: Because of the uneven muscular forces required to keep our balance when toting around a heavy handbag, our joints and spine get pulled hither and yon. This can result in painful subluxations and muscular strain. 
  • Back Pain: Picking up a heavy bag can easily lead to acute muscle spasms (or "throwing your back out") as well as painful bulging discs. 
  • Nerve Pain: The neck and shoulders are rich with nerves, but when you compress them with a thin leather strap attached to a bag that weighs as much as a newborn baby? It's a recipe for pinched nerves, numbness, tingling, and pain. 

Now, I would never ask any woman to give up her favorite bag, but it's clear that we're not doing ourselves any favors right now. So, how to still enjoy your tote while saving your back? First of all, lighten your load by paring your purse down to the essentials. On days when you know you need to carry a lot of heavy things, switch to a back-friendly backpack or sturdy cross-body bag. 

The next step is to visit The Joint Chiropractic! Not only can chiropractic treatment help to relieve your back pain and correct painful subluxations and nerve entrapment, but routine chiropractic care can continue to help your body stay in healthy alignment, offsetting the damaging effects of heavy bags and giving you better balance. You don't even need an appointment, so grab your bag and come visit The Joint today! 

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