The surge of fashionable larger handbags means we are carrying around a heavier load. We carry purses, mobile phones, umbrellas, diaries, make-up bags, books and water bottles No wonder a handbag can weigh around 3kg. Man bags are usually heavier (approx. 6kg).
An imbalance of a heavy load places extra strain through the joints and soft tissues of the body. This will eventually lead to pain, poor posture, health problems and possibly surgery.
The consistent carrying of a bag over the shoulder causes the neck to be side bent away from the load, increasing stress on the carrying side and compressing the joints of the vertebrae on the side leaning away from the load. The shoulder carrying the bag is constantly rotated and elevated which can cause pain from muscle spasms around the shoulder blades and thoracic spine.
Carrying a heavy bag over time can cause inflammation of the joints in the spine and disc prolapse which is a very painful condition of the back and can take quite a few months to recover and may even require surgery if the nerves are compressed. The effects can cascade throughout the spine and pelvis.
How can the load be distributed more evenly?
Use a smaller bag so you are forced to carry less.
Wear a rucksack.
Alternate at frequent intervals the shoulder which the bag is being carried.
Wider straps so the bag can be worn across the body diagonally like a satchel.
Having done this research I shall be reviewing the bags I carry not to mention unnecessary clutter that comes with.
Written by Dr Zeinah Keen.