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Pain Management Health Center

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Change Wardrobe

Take a look at your wardrobe with an eye to health, not fashion. Your purse, wallet, laptop case, and even some clothes can make back pain worse. Choose back-friendly accessories and garments to reduce the risk of injury and pain.

Closet Culprits

Just because it looks good doesn't mean it's good for you. Take an inventory of your closet to see which pieces of clothing may be doing a number on your back.

Skinny jeans or skirts and tight waistbands can interfere with bending over, walking, sitting, or finishing a meal. That can cause poor posture and lead to back pain.

Switch to looser clothing that allows you to move freely.

Simplify Sitting

Sitting on an overstuffed wallet or a smart phone distorts the muscle pressing against it. This can result in discomfort and back pain, including problems with the sciatic nerve.

Clean those receipts and extra cards out of your wallet to minimize the impact. And when you sit, whether at your desk or on the road, remove items from your back pockets altogether.

Wear Good Shoes

To help maintain a good posture, keep your shoes comfortable with heels less than 1 inch. The wrong shoe can change your body's center of gravity and alignment. High heels -- and for men, loafers without adequate support -- create a less stable posture and increase pressure on your lower spine.

If you must wear fashionable shoes, minimize the time in them. Wear a pair of comfortable shoes, and change into the dressy ones only when absolutely necessary.

Carry Comfortably

The larger the bag, the more tempted you'll be to fill it. Clean out your bag regularly. You shouldn't be carrying more than 10% of your body weight.

Avoid using just 1 shoulder to carry your stuff. Look for a purse with a wide, adjustable strap that's long enough to reach over your head, cross-body style (bike messenger-style) or a backpack with 2 wide padded straps (and use them both). This distributes the weight, keeping your back aligned properly. Multiple compartments will help, too.

Computer Conscious

Even if your laptop is supposedly lighter than air, carrying it in a case on one shoulder or under your arm can be a strain. The weight of the computer, the case, and accessories add up. And those few extra pounds may be enough to strain muscles and pinch nerves.

When you're toting your computer, be aware. Take only what you absolutely need. Alternate which side you carry it on, and keep it close to your body. Consider a rolling case to take off the pressure.

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