Take Care Christmas Shopping – Please

The Birmingham Christmas Market is upon us again, its always very busy but worthit in terms or economical impact for Birmingham City Centre . It always amazes me how difficult it is to traverse the city centre through the layers of people congregating in the market which is centred around the high street. As a musculoskeletal specialist and Osteopath. I work in Birmingham City Centre specialising in Back pain and neck pain . As I navigate I cant help but notice all the potential strains as we squeeze past each other amidst the seasonal paraphernalia , the amount of bags everyone is carrying  and the slow progress of the crowds.

I offfer my expertise based on the thousands of treatments Ive completed over the years and an article I have just read in the Huffington Post about ‘Handbags’ the expert behind the article was Dr Robert Hayden a Chiropractor and founder of the Iris City Chiroporactic Centre in Atlanta and New York based Chiropractor Dr Karen Erickson. Prolonged poor posture and strain from carrying bags can affect us in the following ways:

  • OUR NATURAL GAIT – The single shoulder bag as well as a heavy shopping bag , affects the way the arms and leg swing in unison as part of gait . We observe similar problems at spinalsolutions in relation to athletes with a damaged hamstring , examination and observation sometimes indicates that in fact the protagonist was poor shoulder movement in the running action. The human body in the walking or running movement tends to work from across the shoulders to the hip, at the practice we observe 4 POINTS OF FUNCTION the two shoulders and the hips, there is a rhythm of movement between these points which can be affected by the restrictions created by heavy or asymmetrical bags.

  • Continued ASYMMETRIC CONTRACTION can produce stiffness. This stiffness may interfere with natural leverages and thus a simple motion like lifting a cup of coffee can lead to acute muscle strain and spasm.

  • MUSCLE TENSIONS in the shoulders and neck coupled with poor posture ( head poked forwards due to carrying heavy bags) can also produce HEADACHES , and perhaps long-term may even produce localised arthritis

The suggested ‘RULE OF THUMB’ is never carry more than 10 PER CENT of your body weight in a shoulder bag or with ‘shopping’ , and of course 5 PER CENT for smaller handbags etc. Sometimes the accrouments of designer bags add to the weight, and the irregularity of the load represented by the shopping affects the distribution of the weight.

Suggestions for improvement:

  • Try WIDER STRAPS , the wider the strap the better, as we know from those school physics lessons the weight distribution of a narrow strap is very much more than a wide strap , which then produces increased comfort. Alternatives built into the bag are also a good idea , handles cross body straps are all good ideas.

  • http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008U8QPLM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B008U8QPLM&linkCode=as2&tag=spinalsolutio-21
  • A feeling of a CARRYING POINT for the bag is commonly known as a ‘sweet spot’ , this is the exact placing of the bag which doesn’t cause too much interference . Too short and it stops the arm swinging ,too long and it interferes with leg swing . Thus having an effect on gait as mentioned previously

  • Shoulders should be SWITCHED PERIODICALLY to balance the way the strain is taken on.

  • TEXTING is an absolute addiction , it seems we have lost the ability to wait before responding to messages . Looking down whilst texting is a real strain on the neck , given the weight of the head.

  • FOOTWEAR especially heels may affect posture, heels tip the posture forward and open up the back to more strain when there is a weight distributed across its leverage.

  • A BACK PACK is sometimes more suitable than a purse/handbag. It should ‘nt hang more than 4 inches below the waist.

As we have said at spinalsolutions in previous posts , NEVER LET FASHION cloud your judgement.