Ouch! Is Your Handbag Causing Your Neck Pain?

It is pretty trendy these dhandbag.JPGays for women to tote oversized handbags.  These bags are so large that it becomes easy to fit any number of things in them upping the weight of the bag into the 25 and 30 pound range.  We see many women with complaints of headaches and neck, shoulder and upper back pain, the cause of which, in some cases, can be related to carrying handbags that are too heavy.

Think of your body as a mobile hanging in balance on a center line.  If one part of the mobile becomes too heavy, or stuck in one position, the rest of the mobile reacts by trying to compensate for the parts out of balance.  The same goes for suspending your handbag off one shoulder.  A heavy weight on one side of the body interferes with the natural movement of the upper and lower body.  

This causes muscle, ligaments and tendons especially in your upper body and neck to become stressed.  This stress on the musculoskeletal system results in tightness, reduced range of motion, muscle spasms and pain.

“The person carrying the bag will hike one shoulder to subconsciously guard against the weight, holding the other shoulder immobile," said American Chiropractic Association president Dr. Richard Brassard. "This results in the unnatural counterbalance movement of one shoulder and little control over the movements of the arms and legs. Even worse, the spine curves toward the shoulder."

Follow these suggestions to feel your best.
  • Clean out your handbag.  Determine what is really necessary and remove the non-essentials on a regular basis.
  • Switch sides.  Alternate the shoulder you carry your handbag on to help prevent repetitive stress injuries.
  • Weigh in.  Your handbag should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight.  So for a 150lb woman, that means your bag should weigh no more than 15 lbs.  Ideally, your bag should weigh in at 3 lbs or less!
Original content by Rulli Chiropractic Clinic 2012


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