Is Your Handbag causing your Pain? Weigh it.

Is Your Handbag causing your Pain? Weigh it.

Is Your Handbag causing your Pain? Weigh it.

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It happened again today. A healthy looking 40 year old showed up at the office with complaints of severe neck pain and right arm numbness and tingling. Her MRI showed some mild disc degeneration but nothing that should really be causing the problems she was describing. She insisted that every time she walked for long periods, or had a busy day running errands, she would be miserable for hours afterwards. Then I saw her purse.

Let’s talk…

How much do you actually have to carry when you go out? Sure you might have some files and your lunch to take to work, but for most people that’s one trip from the parking lot to the office. If you carry large amounts of work for long distances, hopefully you have discovered rolling briefcases/file boxes.

Several years ago a study was done on how the heavy book bags that children had to carry, affected their spines. Afterwards “school copies” of books became available and bags with better weight distribution were made available. I have yet to see a study on women’s purses. It’s the women (maybe a few men, but mostly women) that feel they have to carry all their earthly belongings with them every time they leave the house. They keep adding to that bag (purse, pocketbook, or handbag) they carry, and do not once consider what it is doing to their neck and back.

If I handed you a 10 pound weight and asked you to carry it with you everywhere you go for the next month, you would think I was crazy and say “absolutely not. That would be stupid and hurt my neck/back”.

My patient’s purse weighed at least 15 lbs. No lie. When I asked her what was in it she said “just the necessary stuff”. I asked her to go home and take everything out of her purse that she has not needed in the last week. I also asked her to buy one of those neat little wallets  that hold a cellphone, credit cards and keys. For most trips out of the house, that is all you need. So she didn’t feel she was going out completely without support, I asked her to take this little wallet out of her bag and take it with her, and just leave her purse in the car. Her necessary stuff will be close by, but she will not be carrying it everywhere she goes.

I have had at least five patients that have improved greatly by getting rid of their handbags. Think about it and then do a little trial on your own. You can also switch to knapsacks (worn as they were made to be worn) or a cross body bag to distribute necessary weight more evenly.

Tell a friend you see lugging a bag around. If it’s not money they are carrying, it’s not worth it.

 

Citations

  • Brzęk A, Dworrak T, Strauss M, Sanchis-Gomar F, Sabbah I, Dworrak B, Leischik R. The weight of pupils' schoolbags in early school age and its influence on body posture. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017 Mar 21;18(1):117. PubMed PMID: 28320364

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

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Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

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The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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