If you have happened to pick up a celebrity gossip magazine in the past year, you may have noticed a new fashion trend. I am not talking about skinny jeans or platform shoes. I am talking about a bag big enough to fit your living room couch in. In recent years, women have gone from carrying these cute miniature bags to now carrying extremely large purses and handbags. While these over-sized bags can be very fashionable, they can be a killer for our necks, shoulders, and backs and may even lead to headaches and arthritis.
It is not only women who have the burden of carrying heavy bags. Children are carrying very heavy backpacks and men may be carrying heavy briefcases or laptop bags that may also lead to neck and back pain. Here are some tips to minimize the pain and injury that may occur from carrying a too-heavy bag.
Take weight out of your purse: According to the American Chiropractic Association, a handbag should weigh no more than 10% of its owner’s body weight. I am sure that if women went through their bags, they could remove at least 5 items that are not absolutely necessary to carry around each day.
Avoid carrying a bag on one shoulder: Use a bag that has two straps like a backpack or a messenger bag that goes across your body. This will help to distribute the weight so that one shoulder is not overloaded.
Have even weight: Try to put even weight on both arms, don’t load up one arm. If you are carrying several bags of groceries, divide the bags up evenly. If you typically carry your purse on one shoulder, try to use your other shoulder for a day to give your main carrying shoulder a rest.
Avoid talking on your cell phone while holding a heavy bag: If you are bringing a phone to your ear, you are elevating that shoulder, which may intensify the symptoms of neck or shoulder pain.
Have smart straps: If you must use a bag with one shoulder strap, ensure that the strap is wide and possibly padded on the bottom to cushion your skin.
Bring a rolling cart: If you are going out shopping to a grocery store or doing some holiday shopping, take a rolling cart with you so that you do not have to carrying your purchases.
Consider a bag on wheels: Many briefcases or laptop bags are available in small rolling styles. Although they may not be as fashionable, your neck will thank you.
Hopefully these tips will help to minimize the strain on your neck and back from carrying a heavy bag. Before we know it, the popular fashion will change and we may be back to carrying mini-bags again soon!