Is Your Purse Giving You Back Pain?

Is Your Purse Giving You Back Pain?

Dr. Ernest Levister

Nearly every single person carries some sort of bag over the course of their daily lives. Whether it’s a briefcase, a backpack, a purse, or a laptop case, your bag may just be the reason behind your back pain. 

According to the American Chiropractic Association, half of working Americans complain of back pain. What’s more, our nation as a whole is spending at least $50 billion each year to remedy that pain. 

Those beloved handbags and other carry alls can cause serious back pain. So what can you do to avoid all of the discomfort — and perhaps save some cash in the process? 

Strain to the body from carrying bags that are too heavy can cause muscle spasms; pain in the back, neck or joints; sprains or strains; and even headaches. Health professionals recommend carrying lighter loads and using backpacks instead of single-strap bags, such as messenger bags or large purses. 

The muscles in the neck and shoulder run up to the head, while the nerves in the neck run all the way down the arms. This means that a strain applied at one point can have effects throughout the body. 

Heavy bags place unhealthy pressure on the neck or shoulder, which often leads to upper back problems, especially over time. 

Good practices can reduce strain on the body. Correct posture, with the head and shoulders held upright, is one of the best ways to protect against muscle and nerve damage. 

Heavier objects should be placed near the bottom and rear of bags. Children should carry less than 15 percent of their body weight in backpacks. Adults using single-strap bags, such as messenger bags and purses, should not carry more than 10 percent of their weight. 

Moving a single-strap bag from shoulder to shoulder or switching between different bags also can help stave off health problems. Tip: Two straps are better than one! 

Clean Out Your Bag. Do you really need all that stuff in your bag? It’s one thing to carry around the stuff you need, but you probably don’t need $5.68 in change or six tubes of lip balm. Go through your bag and take out the stuff you don’t need in an effort to declutter. It’s a simple way to reduce weight that can damage your back.

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