Do you have neck and shoulder tension?
Do you put everything in 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 problems your heavy handbags may be causing.
The over-sized handbags causes ‘Poshitis‘
Poshitis is the term coined by medics for the problems caused to the body by oversized handbags. Posh spice is being named as responsible for making the oversized handbag a trend and Poshitz 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. Do 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 in your neck and shoulder, while at the same time your posture from carrying your bag, 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 and this causes neck tension.
Or you might 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. As 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, the other side of your torso tightens and shortens for support and strength. Sound terrible but women do it all the time.
Signs 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, an isolated dull, 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 your welcome to use this as 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 it in your other hand. I often have a small bag inside my big bag and just take the small bag with you, leaving the other bag behind if you don’t need it. In the car, I have a basket in the boot 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 bag in a bag
I have a small shoulder bag with a long strap containing the basics I need all the time and I 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 a load of necessities into my bigger bag that fits under the seat and my carry on case with 4 wheels so that I don’t have to drag it along behind me on two wheels, which pulls on your shoulder too.
Weight soon adds up to heavy load when I pack my laptop, iPad, travel size skin products, kitchen sink and the pantry snacks, 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
During pre-treatment consultations at ikatan spa, upper body is by far the most requested area for women, that needs the attention.
I like to tell women that this is because ‘we hold the weight of the world on our shoulders’. When in actual fact it’s often the weight in our handbags being held on our shoulders and us being fashion victims, or carrying our world with us in that bag, 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 the problems and imbalances through the body are common in most people and it is not hard to work out the repetitious action that causes the problems.
It’s hard for people to break the way they do everyday movements and it takes a long time for the body to restore or repair the damage that has been caused after you change your habit causing the problem. However, it’s not impossible to recover from an injury as the body is incredibly self-sufficient at healing if you have treatment and do the necessary exercise to correct the body.
Easy, effective ways to release tension
Regular stretching of the area of concern is usually an effective way you can do a lot of the corrective work for yourself to balance and relieve tension. Seek professional medical advice from a Physiotherapist or Osteopath and 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.
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.
Regular professional help
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 massages over a few months to make a difference to your body.
The general rule is that it takes time to fix an issue. However, you will notice a difference if you consistently treat the problem after four weeks, with a marked improvement at six weeks and further improvements after three months.
I hope this helps you downsize your bag. Happy shopping for a new smaller bag and basket!