Body Information: Reduce Back Pain

Tips for preventing pains from carrying weight improperly. Instructions on alleviating strain to muscles.

Are you a woman with chronic pain in one shoulder? Do you feel as if your spine is being pulled to one side? Many women experience discomforts such as these and seek out medical attention to relieve the pain. Yet, for quite a few of these women, the problem and solution are right there hanging from their shoulder. The culprit is their purse.

Chiropractors and physiotherapists will tell you right away to reduce what you carry in your purse. The weight of all that stuff being toted around year after year can cause serious damage to muscles, bones and nerves. There is no need to world on your shoulder. And here are a few suggestions for lightening the load.

Go smaller. Just like a gas will fill whatever volume of space you give it, so too will you fill a handbag. Your purse should be only big enough to carry a wallet, a few select toiletries, keys, a small address book or day planner and perhaps a cell phone. Consider your purse to be holder of only essential and constant items. That is, what you would likely need in an emergency: money, keys, phone, phone numbers, tissues, band aids, etc.

Use the right tool for the job. Often, we do have to carry books, files, lunches, umbrellas, etc. But our purse isn't the place for those things. A lightweight briefcase or tote bag is the answer. That way, when you go for lunch, you can leave your tote behind. Or, when you're going to and from work, you can carry your purse on one side, and your briefcase on the other thereby distributing the weight. And, when you go to run errands in the evening, you don't have to unload extra stuff, or worse yet, carry all your extra belongings with you.

Look inside. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you feel the need to carry things you never use? Many times there is a psychological reason such as insecurity behind an overstuffed handbag. Empty the contents of your purse and consider each item carefully before putting it back in. Have you used that item in the past 3 months? Are you holding onto it for sentimental reasons? Is there a more compact version you could carry with you? (For example, a purse-sized lint brush or bottle of hand lotion.) What would it mean to you if you didn't always have it with you?

Consider your wallet. Take inventory of your wallet too. If you collect coupons, are they still valid? Are they for products or services you will actually use? Do you carry too many credit cards? It could even help your budget if you put one or two in a secure place at home. Do you have too many coins? Don't forget that coins spend just as well as paper money so keeping them in your wallet only adds to the size and weight of your purse. If you are the kind of person who prefers to use bills when making purchases, get into the habit of putting your change in a jar every night when you get home. It will be a pleasant surprise every now and then when you go to roll them and discover how much "found money" you have.

Your purse shouldn't be a junk drawer on a strap. For the sake of your back and shoulders, if nothing else. It may be difficult at first to get used to not having to lug around so much stuff, but give it time. You'll soon notice the lack of strain on your back and shoulders, how much lighter you feel, and how you still have everything you need.

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