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Is Your Purse a Pain... In Your Back?

If somebody were to look in my bottomless pit of a purse right now, they would probably assume that I was some sort of odd combination of mother/packrat/chapstick junkie/least organized person ever (for the record, only one of those is actually true at this point). There are old receipts, lots of loose pennies (I live in LA- anything bigger than pennies is used for parking), half-eaten granola bars, house and mailbox keys for places I no longer live, to-do lists from 2013, band-aids (unused, thankfully), four pens, and at least six different chapsticks/lip glosses. It's basically a melting pot of the last two years of my life. But at least it's a cute bag, right?

Unfortunately, despite it's cuteness, it has also lead to intermittent periods of back and shoulder pain. The American Chiropractic Association estimates that, at any given time, about 50 percent of the US population is experiencing back pain. And heavy purses aren't helping. 

How does your purse contribute to your joint pain? 

  • You are throwing your natural stride off- According to Dr. Robert A. Hayden, a chiropractor and founder of The Iris City Chiropractic Center in Atlanta, "One of the consequences of carrying a shoulder bag on one shoulder is that it significantly interferes with the normal gait". When you are weighing one side of your body down more so than the other, problems develop due to the lack of balance. 

  • Your muscles are becoming stiff- Constantly carrying a purse with significant weight can lead to spasms in your trapezius muscle, which is located on top of your shoulders. This tension can cause significant neck, back, and shoulder pain.

What can you do to mitigate the pain? 

  • You can carry a lighter bag- As much as it seems like you need a million different things in your purse at all times (you need to be prepared for anything, right?), you only need a few essentials at any given time. Take everything else out of your purse and you'll help to alleviate unnecessary weight and, therefore, pain. 

  • Choose a more ergonomically-friendly purse style- Dr. Hayden recommends that, in order to provide better support and to mitigate joint pain, you should carry a bag with wider straps or a cross-body bag to better distribute the weight. 

  • Head to the chiropractor- If your purse has become a pain, stop into The Joint for a chiropractic adjustment. With knowledgeable doctors of chiropractic to assist you in your health, you'll be given key remedies to carrying that heavy purse in a more natural manner. Their convenient walk-in hours and affordable prices make pain management (from purses or otherwise) a breeze! 


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