Men carry their credit cards and cash in a wallet that fits nicely in the front of back pocket of a pair of slacks. Women on the other hand need a place for their necessities. This means carrying a purse and depending on the women, a large handbag to fit make-up, cell phone, hair brush, datebook… you get the idea.
Comedian George Carlin once said, “A house is just a place for your stuff. You get a bigger house, you get more stuff.” The same can be said for purses, which today’s trend has become more along the lines of handbags. This results in carrying more items, which of course results in a heavier load.
Large handbags are fashionable-with bargain brands and expensive labels alike offering the bulky bags. Since they are roomy, they can tempt women to carry along those extra sneakers to walk on lunch break, an umbrella incase of a sudden shower or even a stock of snacks or a bottle of water. What is meant to innocently be a cool accessory turns into muscle mayhem.
It’s no wonder then why so many women are complaining of neck, shoulder and back pain. In a Reuter’s news report last month, Texas-based physician Jane Sadler says that she sees many women come to her with complaints of neck pain.
“…What I usually do is look for their purse and pick it up,” said Sadler. “We take it over to the scale and weigh it and usually they’re anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds.”
Physical therapists claim that an aggravated neck or shoulder can lead to upper back problems, which the pain can be felt long after the purse is hung on the coat rack. The pain can be felt, they explain, while playing sports, exercising or even working at the computer.
Texas-based physical therapist William Case suggests that handbag designers place a “cute, educational caution tag” on all bags to inform of potential neck and shoulder dangers.
He adds that people should not strain themselves with more than 10-15 percent of their body weight, even in backpacks. Backpacks in fact are a better way to carry a heavy load, but they aren’t as fashionable in the business world as they are on a college campus.
Carrying a load on the shoulder is really the least effective way to carry a load. But, the fashion world does not always accommodate what is healthy (stilettos!). Here are some tips to keep in mind should you be a bearer of a big, bad bag.
Big, Bad Bag Tips:
–If a heavy purse is a must-have for women, having good posture can help alleviate pain.
–Changing the size/weight of the purse every so often can help. An example would be to have a work purse to have all your needs in one place, but to carry a smaller bag with just a wallet for errands or a night out.
–If you live in a city where you walk to lunch or meetings, lock your purse in your desk or locker, and carry your cash/cards in a pocket. This way, there is less stress while you walk.
–Massage and anti-inflammatory agents can help alleviate symptoms.