Leon E. Popovitz, MD
Top-Rated Orthopedic Surgeon
Specializing in Arthroscopic Surgery of the Shoulder & Knee.
For appointments 212.759.4553

The New York Bone Blog

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Your Purse Can Be Causing More Damage Than You Think

Neck and back pain are by far the most common orthopedic conditions. And probably the most common way women strain their necks and pull their backs is by carrying a purse. On top of this stress to your body, having a purse weigh on your shoulder every day is a sure way to damage the joint.

Our shoulder joints are very mobile only because the ball of our upper arm bone rotates very freely. Our shoulder bone and clavicle hardly touch it, so our arm is mainly held in place by tendons. Imagine a purse that may weigh ten pounds or more pulling these tendons down for hours out of every day. I’m sure you’ve noticed your neck muscles tightening to compensate for this. The tendons in your shoulder are being stretched, and the muscles of your upper trapezius are tight and strained. This will cause irritation and inflammation in all of the tissues in the area. On top of this, tightening one side of your neck will affect your posture, eventually causing misalignment of your back.

The solution? Most definitely lighten the load in your purse. But also opt for a back pack that will evenly distribute the weight across both shoulders when you can. Even a satchel style purse can help avoid extensive shoulder damage.

If you seek treatment for neck or back pain early, it can be easily managed with physical therapy. Keeping up with stretches and exercises at home can ensure that your muscles stay strong enough to support your shoulder.

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