Power Moves That Prevent Pain
Want pain relief without a pill? Lighten your load—the bag on your shoulder, stuffed with everything from lipstick to lug nuts—and build strength with these 5 moves
Combat Purse Pain
Big bags manage big loads and are seemingly perfect for a modern woman, who never knows what duties she might be called on to perform in the course of a day. Substitute ER doctor? Concierge? CPA? Root around long enough in a suitcase-size pocketbook and you'll surely find something to get the job done. And don't forget those everyday contingencies you can't leave home unprepared for—the makeup meltdown, the sugar crash, the chance that a spot might open up in the chronically booked Pilates class.
But all this "you never know what you'll need" practicality comes with a price: Oversize totes carry a serious potential for injury. The combination of the weight of the bag against muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments—plus the compensating shift in posture you make to carry the load—can lead to headaches, back pain, and body aches. Really push the poundage and you could suffer more serious nerve trauma or degenerative joint disease. It's easy to dismiss the "pocketbook effect," but "when you carry something heavy every day, the accumulated stress can lead to significant injuries that require medical attention," says Martin Lanoff, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and a clinical assistant professor at Rosalind Franklin University Medical School in Chicago.
But leaving home with only the bare essentials isn't really an option for those of us with busy, multitasking lives (that is, most of us). (Think you don’t have time for a full-body gym session? In fact, when we took a look inside nearly 100 women's handbags, we couldn't believe how much some of them weighed and what was being carted around. So for those women and everyone else out there, we've got winning strategies to keep you healthy.
If your upper-body muscles are weak or tight, warns Dr. Vonda Wright, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, a too-heavy bag will do damage faster. Firm up with these stretches and strength moves.
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