Is your heavy purse bad for your health?

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - Carrying a purse, a child, groceries, wearing heels or texting can be a pain in your neck and back.

A doctor at Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute said even though all these things may cause pain, she finds purses are the number one culprit when women are complaining of neck pain, spasms and headaches.

“Even though it may seem like a pretty benign activity, it can actually cause a lot of musculoskeletal issues. The most common ones that I’ll see are neck and back pain. Basically, when there's an asymmetric load, it changes our gait, it causes overcompensation on the other side,” Dr. Jocelyn Szeto with Memorial Hermann IRONMAN/ UT Health said.

Without changing your habits, Szeto said you may be putting yourself at risk for chronic arthritis in your neck.

She suggests a few things to help:

  • Regularly switch shoulders
  • Consider cross-body bags or backpacks to disperse weight
  • Keep it light - nothing heavier than 5 to 10 percent of your body weight (ex: a 150 pound person carries less than 10-15 pounds)

She also recommended men switch the pockets where they carry wallets. 

Szeto said anti-inflammatories can help with pain, but only use them up to one week. If symptoms persist longer, see a doctor.
 

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