Careful What You Carry

Finding Balance

Photo courtesy of James Jordan

Chiropractors are tasked with correcting posture, realigning spinal segments, and maintaining good spinal motion.  Often patients are doing things to upset this delicate balance in their bodies without even knowing.  Two common concerns are carrying a wallet in a back pocket and toting a bag over one shoulder (book bag or handbag).

Fat Wallet in Your Back Pocket

If you have read in this space before, you may recall me espousing on the dangers of carrying a thick wallet in your back pocket.  Sitting on a fat wallet is one of the easiest ways to unlevel the pelvis.  Usually back pockets are situated right under our “sit bones” when we are seated.  If you put your hands under your backside while sitting you can feel two prominences (the ischial tuberosities) that bear our weight while we are seated.  These bones are part of the pelvis, which forms the foundation for our spine.  Putting a book, wood block, or wallet under one side can twist the pelvis and cause the spine to lean away from that side.  Imagine the effect of driving a few hours with your bulky, rear stowed wallet in place.

Shoulder Overloaded

While the effect of carrying a thick wallet in your back pocket is more likely to upset the low back, shouldering a bag on one side is more likely to bother the upper back.  And, carrying enough weight on one shoulder can strain the low back as well.  Holding a heavily laden handbag on one shoulder puts significant stress on the muscles of the shoulder, neck, and upper back as the body tries to maintain the shoulders level and the spine vertical.  Prolonged one-sided carrying can overwork and injure muscles that try to maintain this balanced posture.

Avoid Imbalance

  • Remove unnecessary items from your wallet or purse to thin or lighten.
  • Store your wallet in a front pocket while sitting.
  • Carry handbags across the chest and book bags on both shoulders to distribute weight more evenly.
  • Alternate the shoulder that you carry on regularly.

Following these suggestions should help you to avoid straining muscles and putting the spine in a compromising position.  If you should still find yourself dealing with neck, shoulder, or low back pain, come in to Matthews Chiropractic Center to get it checked out.  When the body eventually accommodates to a postural change, then you will be carrying around another problem waiting to upset the balance of your good health.

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