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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Says Dr. Bergin, Respect the Purse

I’m sure I’m not going to get anywhere with this one. But look, I have to try. Purses are bad for your health. You never know which one of you is walking around with an upper quadrant liability such as cervical radiculopathy, myofascitis, bursitis, tennis elbow, deQuervain’s syndrome or the lowly carpal tunnel syndrome. But trust me, you’re out there…many of you having already helped me pay for my children’s education and my truck. And for that I say, “Thank you!”

But there is hope. And if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that the hope comes in the form of modifying certain activities which will exacerbate or even cause the conditions from which we SUFFER!

And so, to the purse. I have a lovely little collection of antique Victorian purses. None is larger than my open hand, and many are as small as a package of Altoids. One of them even has tiny things inside of it, like a tiny brush and a tiny powder compact. I’ve been told they made tiny packages of tiny cigarettes and matches for the um…liberated ladies who would sneak out for a clandestine smoke. But a proper Victorian lady would never smoke. Nor would she lug around the behemoths on which we are now so dependent.

Let me get to the point. They’re just bad for you! Start thinking of a better way to carry things. Big purses just get bigger and heavier. There are only a few things you really need to put in a purse. So in goes your wallet, keys, your cell phone, and maybe some make up. But then why not add a bottle of water, a book, or your lunch? That still leaves room for a couple of protein bars, a change of clothes and your iPad. It’s amazing to see what people put in their purses.

This tremendous weight is then slung across the shoulder, forcing the user to elevate that shoulder to hold it in place. This puts stress on the neck, the shoulder and the back. Okay, so you hang yours on your arm. This is no better, and I have patients who get repetitive strain disorders and nerve compression disorders from this method of carriage.

We are not beasts of burden, and yet we aim to be exactly that…especially us gals. Always striving for greater efficiency, we try to carry as much as possible in one trip. I used to carry a small tool set in mine. It was very handy…once a year. Just when I needed that hex head screw driver.

I encourage you to lighten the load. Really. How much do you actually need to haul around with you? Put some of the stuff in the car. Get it in a separatetrip. Clean out your purse weekly. Get a smaller purse and force yourself to travel with less.

I understand the fashion statement. I really do. But it’s hurting you…oh, and making my car payment along the way.

- Dr. Barbara Bergin, orthopedic surgeon at Texas Orthopedics

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