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Back pain is a common ailment that plagues the lives of about 31 million Americans during their lifetime. Lower back pain affects people of all ages and can significantly impact your overall wellbeing.
Ruptured discs, arthritis, traumatic injuries, and strain on your back muscles are common causes of this debilitating pain. This dull, radiating pain reduces your range of motion and significantly impacts your posture.
One common cause of back pain that is often overlooked is resting right on your shoulder for a great part of the day: your handbag for women and backpacks and computer satchel for men.
Carrying heavy handbags or computer bags can cause a range of back and posture-related problems.
Some of the ways that these handy accessories have a long-term impact on your physical wellbeing include:
Most women carry their handbags on the same shoulder every single day. The muscles in your shoulder, neck, and upper back, develop more than the others because of this uneven distribution of weight. The relatively weaker muscles on the other side will impact your posture significantly and make you lean towards your dominant side.
Your shoulders begin to roll forward due to the weight of your handbag and will strain your back and neck muscles and cause asymmetrical pain on one side.
There’s No Weight Distribution
Lugging around a heavy bag on your shoulder places unsupported weight on your back and shoulders. The thin straps are often unable to support the weight and, thus, put strain on your muscles.
The lack of weight distribution causes you to lean to one side and affects your ability to maintain an upright posture. Studies have often looked into the effects of backpack weight on the posture of school children. Students can experience a variety of back pain related conditions by carrying about 10 percent of their mean body weight on their shoulders.
Heavy Bags Affect Your Natural Gait
Your natural gait is how your legs and arms swing when you walk. This imperative aspect of maintaining your balance is affected when you carry a heavy handbag or backpack on one shoulder.
The gait plays an important role in keeping your back upright and supporting a healthy posture. Uneven weight distribution forces you to alter your gait and swing one arm more than the other. This adjustment affects your neck and shoulders by increasing the exertion of one side while leaving the other dormant.
The trapezius muscle, which is located on top of your shoulders, can tighten and spasm from the excessive weight on your shoulder. The stiffness in the neck and shoulder area can hinder your daily functioning and reduce your neck’s full range of motion.
The curve in your neck decreases as a result of carrying the heavy weight of your handbag for long periods of time and permanently alters your posture.
If you always carry a heavier backpack, you should pay attention to changing the stressed shoulders frequently.
When bending over, the back is the most stressed. When picking up or lifting things, it's best to bend your knees so that the stress is on your legs, not your back. In addition, it is best to separate the legs and keep the back straight, so that the weight is as close to the body as possible to reduce the pressure on the back.
Often wearing tight pants will make the abdominal muscles relatively loose, which is not conducive to supporting the back. There are also high-heeled shoes that will increase the burden on the back. Women should wear less high-heeled shoes. The heel should not exceed 2.5 cm, and it should not be too high.
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