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Your Heavy Bag Is Actually Giving You Headaches

Lighten your load—literally.
PHOTO: istockphoto

As a child, I wondered why my mom always lugged a huge purse around. It literally had everything I asked for—a snack, my toy, some tissue, sanitizer, an umbrella, and so much more. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized that this was the norm. Pinays like to be prepared for anything. We even have several small pouches inside our purse. But did you know that there are actually negative aspects to carrying a big, heavy bag around on a daily basis?

1. It strains the body.

According to Dr. Robert Hayden, a heavy purse forces muscles along your spine to work extra hard to cater to the additional weight. This effort stresses the lower back, which is why sometimes, that area hurts: “The more asymmetric the load, the more everything below the shoulder will have to work.” There’s also the possibility of developing arthritis. Dr. Karen Erickson asserts, “We also see people who develop arthritis in their neck, in their lower neck, because their neck has been forced to carry this heavy weight for such a long period of time.”

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2.  You get more headaches.

Dr. Erickson attributes frequent headaches to how much work the body has to put into accommodating the extra weight: “When the muscles in your shoulder and neck area spasm, it can cause pain in the back of your skull that radiates around to the front.”  

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3. It messes with your balance.

Ever notice how some women walk with tilted bodies because of their heavy bags? Dr. Erickson says that loading one side with too much weight “interferes with our normal gait.” The bag prevents us from walking properly, which negatively affects our overall balance. Heels cause a similar problem.  

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