Do you have neck and shoulder tension?
Do you fill your bag and sling it over your shoulder, taking it everywhere you go just in case you might need something?
Tight neck and shoulders are just some of the the problems heavy handbags cause.
The over-sized handbags, Termed by medics as ‘Poshitis‘, (after Posh spice being responsible for this trend) and it refers to women spraining or tearing muscles and tendons due to heavy bags. Most of us carry and love our big handbags as it seems to make life easier and more sense if we carry everything we might need and it’s convenient to carry our everyday requirements with us at all times.
Some handbags are as large as a small child and just as heavy. Did you realise that carrying a large heavy shoulder bag can cause long term damage to your neck, shoulder, back and hips.
The weight of a heavy bag will drag your shoulder downward, straining the muscles on your neck and shoulder and at the same time as it pulls your shoulder forward. When you carry a bag, your neck leans away from the weight to help your body stabilise the load from your bag.
Or you hunch (raise your shoulder up and forward) to hold the weight of the bag which contracts the muscles in the neck and upper shoulder creating a lot of tension while your body tries to counter balance this weight by adjusting the back and hip in a raised position on one side to cope with the weight in the handbag.
Symptoms that your bag is too heavy: Have you ever experienced constant pain in the shoulder and neck or tingling in and around the neck and shoulders or an isolated dull or cold feeling in the shoulder or neck when carrying your bag? Ever noticed pins and needles, numbness in your arm and hand or headaches that are persistent? These are the signs that it may be time to down size your bag or carry less weight (ideally, the weight of the handbag should range between 2-3% of the person’s body weight) and an excuse to buy a new handbag!
Unload the load but keep everything you need with you? Get another bag and balance the load by carrying in your hands or, as I often do have a small bag inside my big bag and just take the small bag with you, leaving the other bag behind. In the car I have a basket in the boot (yes you need to buy a cute vintage basket) where I unload what I don’t require when I go to the Supermarket, shopping or to meetings. Alternatively dump the big handbag and grab the empty basket instead.
When I travel I always have a small shoulder bag (like a big purse with a shoulder strap) with the basics and then place that over my head and across my body because caring a bag this way is a little kinder on the body. I then spread the load of necessities like my laptop, iPad, travel size day spa products, kitchen sink and the pantry, oh and a few wardrobe items, like a wrap, just in case I get cold or have to sit on a chair that leaves a pattern on the back of your legs! (who designs those chairs???). Carry-on luggage restrictions are actually a good thing as I unload into my pull along but still have to take the big bag to have by my feet during a flight, just in case I need anything when travelling.
Most women have tight neck and shoulders and during pre-treatment consultations at ikatan spa, upper body is by far the most requested area that needs the attention. I like to tell women that this is because ‘we hold the weight of the world on our shoulders’ but it seems it’s the weight in our handbags being held on our shoulders and us being fashion victims or carrying our world with us that is causing major issues with neck, shoulder, back and hip problems as a contributing factor.
Working with bodies for a long time, I have seen that issues and imbalances are common in most people and it is not hard to work out the repetitious action that causes the problems but it is harder for people to break a habit and it takes a long time for the body to restore or repair the damage that has been caused, however not impossible as the body is incredibly self sufficient at healing.
Regular Stretching the area of concern is easy and effective and something you can do yourself. If you go to a gym, pilates or yoga ask the trained staff to show you some stretches to balance your neck, shoulders, back and hips. Weight training, Pilates or Yoga will help to balance your body and stretch the areas that are tight as well as strengthening the areas that are weak.
Massage is always great for relaxing muscles but don’t expect your tension to disappear with one or two massage treatments as it usually takes consistent massage over a few months to make a difference to your body. General rule is ‘it takes the same amount of time to fix an issue as it did to create it in the first place’ unless it is caused through trauma.
Happy shopping for a new smaller bag and basket!
Katrina, Day Spa Oracle
Owner ikatan Spa