Chicago Chiropractic

A Unique, Multidisciplinary Approach to Pain Management

Handbags & Shoulder Pain

Large handbags are so alluring: fashionable carryalls that tote books, gym wear, bottled drinks and so much more.   Though it’s convenient to have all of life’s little necessities at your fingertips, it’s likely doing a number on your back. Do you have SHOULDER PAIN?

If you suffer from frequent pain in your back, neck and shoulders, frequent headaches or feel numbness or tingling in your hand, this may be the result of carrying too heavy a handbag. The strap puts pressure on the shoulder area where the nerves that run down your arm are located. Our spine was designed to bend only forward and back, and hanging a heavy weight off one shoulder forces the spine to bend sideways, which causes muscles to stretch unnaturally on one side and chronically contract on the other, often putting your spine out of alignment.

The American Chiropractic Association recommends that you carry only what is necessary for the day, and make sure your purse weighs no more than 10 percent of your body weight (or 14 pounds for the average women). So clean out any spare items you may be carrying around with you to reuse shoulder pain.


Do you have shoulder pain with your heavy purse?

If you find you must carry a lot of belongings with you, try to make the load as ergonomic as possible. Get a handbag with a wide a strap that’s adjustable so you can wear the bag diagonally across your body rather than having it hang off one shoulder. This will help keep the weight more centered so it doesn’t pull your shoulder down on one side. You also won’t have to lift your shoulder to keep the bag from falling off. You should also try to regularly switch the side on which you carry your handbag in order to keep the muscles that support the spine on either side from getting overly stretched in one direction.

Another solution is to carry a backpack, as they are designed to distribute the weight more evenly across your shoulders and back. But it’s only ergonomic if you use both straps. Hanging a heavy backpack off one shoulder is just as bad as toting a heavy handbag. Even better, purchase a backpack with built-in wheels so you can take all the weight off your back from time to time. Regular chiropractic treatment can also be useful in reducing the risk of chronic back pain, shoulder pain or even neck pain from carrying a heavy handbag.


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