What’s In Your Bag? And How Heavy Is It?

Hmmmm. See anything  here that might contribute to back and neck pain?

Hmmmm. See anything here that might contribute to back and neck pain?

How much stuff do you carry around every day?

Neck and shoulder pain are a main reason people come in for a massage.  There are many factors that contribute to the pain you have there.  Stress, of course, is a big factor.  Daily things we do such as computer work, driving, and time spent on electronic devices at home keep our head, neck, and shoulders in the same position for long periods of time.

An often overlooked factor is the stuff we lug around daily.

Women carry purses, and the trend lately has been toward larger (and heavier) bags.  Students carry backpacks full of heavy books. People carry briefcases and computer bags for work.  Parents carry diaper bags and the assorted necessities for their children.  We carry as many shopping bags as we can to avoid making more than one trip.

How many times do you hear people saying they need to clean out their purse or bag?

Most people will admit that they need to.

The temptation is to take more and more things because you might need them – and you have room in your bag.  Sometimes you actually do need a thing, but then it stays in the bag and more is added.  Kids and spouses feel the pull of the challenge to add more things to your bag.

If you put your purse down, does it make a thud?  Do pictures on the wall vibrate if you drop your bag?  If yes, you may be carrying around too much.

“But my bag isn’t heavy” you protest.

Maybe not, but when you carry two or three bags at the same time the result is the same.

The weight of the bag affects your posture which starts causing the pain problem.  The muscles of the shoulder, neck, and upper back on the side of the bag are being pulled in that direction.

The muscles on the other side of the body then compensate and pull the opposite way to keep you relatively upright.

The combination of the weight, posture change, and using your muscles this way is a recipe for pain.

Take a few minutes regularly to investigate what you are carrying around daily.  Lighten up your load and see if it makes a difference in how you feel.  Think of getting a spare of an occasionally used item to leave in your car or at work so you are not carrying it every day.  It may not seem like a big deal but doing the same thing daily can take a toll eventually.