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Super Sized Handbags and Back Pain

We all know that high heels are "killer." While they may be all the fashion rage, your body might just be paying a "high" price for your look. Unfortunately, with the trend of super sized handbags, ladies are suffering for fashion once more. Yes, ladies....BIG bag can equal BIG pain.

First off I will admit, big bags are seemingly practical. We have a lot to carry around these days. Stuff that didn't even exist 20 years ago, and nobody back then toted bottles of water around did they? However, putting all those electronic goodies in one big handbag isn't really practical for your shoulders, neck or spine. Carrying heavy loads on one shoulder is the least efficient way to transport your goods. It creates serious asymmetry to the skeleton which functions best if both sides of your body are balanced. While you think shoulder complaints would be top of the list for the oversized purse carriers, lower back complaints top the list. The base of the spine seems to be the body part where all of the upper body burdens come to rest and rear their ugly heads. Neck pain and headaches are close behind in list of complaints and injuries.


The best means of preventing pains associated with your big bag fashion statement are:

  • Switch it up!!!! Alternate which shoulder you carry your handbag on often, especially if you are walking long distances or standing on the subway for a long period of time.
  • Be posture perfect - Walking with correct upright posture will help keep the pain at bay. Keep the spine long, the shoulders even and look straight ahead. No stooping, since that will excacerbate the force and weight of the bag on your spine.
  • Show off your handbag collection and carry a different size purse everyday. Lighten the load when you can.
  • Put your laptop in a fashionable backpack so your don't over stress just one side of your body.
  • Carrying a heavy bag in the crook of your arm is the worst possible place since it is so far away from your center of gravity. Plus the elbow isn't meant to support all that weight, so put that bag on your squared, supported and strong shoulders.

I don't think big handbags will be leaving us anytime soon, so shop around for lighter options. Check out HandBag Mania group that Rachie Rees just started - you are sure to be inspired.

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Join The Conversation
JKe895 JKe895 10 years
I remember my buddy going to the doctor here for back pains and the first thing that the doctor did was ask to lift and weigh her purse. It's a tote and it weighed over 15 lbs! And to top that off she said she didn't really have anything in it that day. I couldn't believe it but it's true.
Fitness Fitness 10 years
Kscincotta - I think yes it is better to have more smaller bags so you can play with the configuration of them. I alternate my lap top back from shoulder to shoulder (having the strap go across the body is good for your shoulders), then carry my other bag on a shoulder or carry it and switch hands as I need too. Also, those Kara B laptop backpacks come in professional colors too!!!! If you travel a lot with you computer, a backpack is a serious back saver.
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
I have recently switched from carrying one super heavy laptop bag with all of my books and stuff for the day to carrying one lighter laptop bag and one smaller bag with my other "essentials" in it. I made the switch because it was more practical for me, but now I'm wondering if multiple small bags are better for your back and such than one huge bag?
Kate-Marie Kate-Marie 10 years
I wish I could carry my Louis Vuitton on my shoulder, but the handles are short so I carry it in the crook of my arm.
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