Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2007. Copyright 2007. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.
A lipstick--or two or three. A book. A phone. A snack and a water bottle. Maybe even a change of clothes. On a daily basis, many women carry this and more in their handbags. Bags are getting bigger, and they're just as jam-packed as ever. Carrying all of this weight on one shoulder is leading to stiff necks, shoulder pain, and even headaches. Increasingly, massage therapists, chiropractors, and doctors are being called upon to treat the symptoms of women who have been carrying around too much for too long. If you're among those who need to downsize, consider doing a bit of math: the American Chiropractic Association (www.amerchiro.org
) suggests that your bag contain no more than 10 percent of your body weight. Alternating shoulders and carrying a backpack, worn on both shoulders, are other options to reduce muscle and joint pain.