Skip to content

Handbags Can be a Pain in the Neck

Handbags can be a pain in the neck……literally!

Today’s society is extremely fashion and style conscious but looking your best might not always be the best thing for you……. In fact oversized bags may be very cool, but very heavy, and really bad for your back… your shoulders… your neck and they pose a risk to posture and could potentially cause or contribute to back problems.

Carrying large handbags around is one of the biggest culprits for chronic injuries in today’s women, and it’s no surprise why. When a bag is stuffed full with mobile phone, iPad, umbrella, diary, make-up, a book, a bottle of water it is not uncommon to find women toting around bags weighing more than 10-15 pounds!

When carrying a bag, the head and neck naturally leans in the opposite direction to help offset the weight. The shoulder carrying the bag is elevated and rotated and the spine is made to curve toward the shoulder. This creates tension on the side of the neck and upper back with the load and compression of the joints on the other side.

The muscles supporting the spine, shoulder and upper back have to work really hard and will eventually tire and spasm. Fatigued muscles don’t support and hold the spine correctly and poor posture can develop which can cause overloading of the spinal joints and it even puts stress on the bundle of nerves that travel from the neck down the arm (the brachial plexus). Over time, the joints of the spine wear and this can lead to premature arthritis.

The associated neck/back problem can manifest itself as chronic neck pain or blow up into an acute episode of neck spasm. Usually there is the complaint of a nagging ache that runs down the neck, across the top of the shoulder blade or even down between the shoulder blades. At time irritation of the spinal nerves give rise to arm pain as well and even tension headaches.

Essential Hand Bag Advice:

The lighter you keep your bag the better, especially if you have to carry it about all day. Take the time to empty unnecessary items from your bag and switch sides frequently to avoid placing the burden of the weight on one side of your body.

Select a handbag or briefcase with a wide and long adjustable strap so you can wear it close to you with the strap over one shoulder and the bag or case under the other arm.
Remember to keep your shoulders relaxed. This is slightly better as it distributes the bulk of the weight across the body.

However something like a rucksack carried on both shoulders and the straps adjusted so that the bag is held close to your back is always best. It distributes the weight more evenly across the back and therefore puts a lot less strain on the body. And you can get some trendy ones these days!!!

Related News