FEELING GREAT: Lighten the load to ease the pain

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Let’s play a fun little game that might help you live with less neck pain.

Take a quick look down by your feet, on the sofa next to you ... wherever your bag may be, take a quick look...

I’m going to take a guess and say your bag is either big, heavy, or both?

(This goes for both men and women by the way - it’s not just women any more who carry large, heavy bags around with them!)

Anyway, I may be wrong, your bag might not fit these descriptions at all, but the reason why I guessed it might is because over the years, almost every patient that walks into my clinic has had with them a big bag, (or at least one packed full of bits and pieces).

So, it’s no surprise that during my time as a physio, one of the most common injuries I see is neck pain.

And without even realising it, carrying a bag can cause this.

I remember when one of my patients, Heather, came to see me. She was telling me about having discomfort in her neck.

I looked over to the corner of the room, spotted her bag, asked if I could see how heavy it was, and it weighed a ton!

No wonder why she was in agony.

But when Heather finally changed her over-sized handbag, had some physio and swapped it for something smaller, carrying a lot less weight, her neck pain eased off and no longer caused her discomfort.

So, if you’re currently carrying around a heavy bag with you, my advice to you would be to clean out the one you use most often once a month, and make it a bit lighter!

The amount of items we can end up storing in them is crazy!

When I got my mam to do this, she had receipts from over a year ago in there, a heavy purse with more coppers than I’ve seen in a long time, and a make-up bag full of every lipstick she owned!

Now, I’m not saying yours will be as full as my mam’s, but I can assure you that if you have a bag clear-out, and use all the pockets to distribute the weight evenly, you’ll feel a difference.

Another thing to remember with keeping the weight even is, if you do have a backpack, use both of the straps.

Otherwise, if one strap is the only option for you, try to swap sides regularly, so there’s no risk of strain.

A physiotherapist can also help you find the best bag suited to your body type, so you no longer have to worry if you’re carrying your bag the correct way or not, and avoid neck pain as much as possible.