Is Your Purse the Cause of Back Pain?

Big bags are not only a fashion statement, they are a requirement in order to lug all the items needed throughout your life. Whether it’s full of school books, baby supplies, laptops, makeup bags and everything in-between. It’s something that you carry daily and never take into consideration for being the root cause of the nagging pain in your back.

What happens when you carry a big heavy purse?

It effects your natural gait

One of the consequences of carrying a shoulder bag is that it interferes with your normal/natural walking gait. When you place a handbag on one side of your body, it means your arm on that side cannot swing, which throws off your natural balance and disturbs your gait.

Muscles become overworked and off balanced

When you carry a purse on one side of your body, it creates an asymmetric load. Most people tend to carry their purse on their side of dominance. This can cause the muscles in your dominant side to become bigger, which throws off your posture. When your posture is compromised, the muscles in your spine compensate for the weight which can cause pressure to be put on the vertebrae of your neck and spine.

It can cause headaches

Forcing your muscles to do all this heavy lifting regularly can cause tension headaches. When the muscles in your shoulder and neck area spasm, it can cause pain in the back of your skull that radiates around to the front.

How can you fix the issue?

  • Reduce the overall weight of your bag – Try to eliminate unnecessary items from your bag that you don’t use on a regular basis. It’s recommended to never carry more than 10 percent of your body weight in your purse.
  • Change your bag style – Another great way to protect your back is to disperse the weight within your bag. Instead of the huge over the shoulder bag, opt for a simple handheld option, a cross body bag or backpack that distributes the weight on both shoulders.
  • Opt for wider straps – When carrying an over the shoulder bag, try to find one with wider straps. This helps to distribute the weight over a larger area and protects the more delicate structures in your shoulder. This area contains nerves that go from the neck directly down into your arm.
  • Switch shoulders regularly – Make it a habit to switch shoulders regularly when carrying an over the shoulder back. This helps to distribute the stress and load over both sides of your body without causing fatigue.