Carrying around a purse can be extremely helpful: you can fit cosmetics, emergency medicine, or snacks while youre on the go. But those helpful items you carry around can weigh a lot and cause strain on your back. There are many reasons your back can be hurting, but if you often carry around a heavy bag, it may be the cause of your back pain.

How purses hurt your back

When you load things into your purse, depending on how large of a bag, you may think youre not carrying a lot because everything youre carrying doesnt weigh too much, but when you put them all together in your bag, itll probably be heavier than you think. If youre able to carry water bottles, books, or a laptop in your bag, it can end up being pretty heavy, which can put a lot of pressure on your shoulders, neck, and back. Your muscles become stiff which can cause them to spasm and cause pain while youre out running errands or out with your friends.

Putting extra weight on one side of your body, as most purses cause you to do, can really hurt your back and can even cause your spine to curve. Your posture and gait is thrown off when your body has to handle extra weight on one side only. Your body has to compensate for the extra weight, so your back muscles can spasm when you least expect it.

How you can avoid the pain

  • Aim to carry less than 10% of your body weight. If you weigh 150 lbs., you shouldnt be carrying a bag over 15 lbs. Weighing your bag with your absolute essentials (wallet, keys, feminine products) can give you a good starting place, and then everything else can be added in later.
  • Switch sides your bag is on, or wear it cross body. If your purse is one you wear over your arm on your shoulder, switch it to the other side every once in a while. Giving each side some of the pressure can balance out your back and save your spine from curving. If you can, buy a cross body bag so the pressure of your bag is distributed more evenly.
  • Get thicker straps for your purse. Thinner straps cut into your shoulders, but thicker straps can support more weight more evenly on your body.
  • Do a monthly purse purge. You dont always remember to clean out your bag every day, and things can accumulate in your purse to cause unnecessary weight, like change or things youve forgotten about. If you clean out your purse every week, you wont start suffering because your bag is too heavy.

You can still carry around things you may need throughout the day, but try not to do it at the expense of your comfort. Even if your bag feels comfortable now, if it starts to feel uncomfortable throughout the day, you know you need to change something. Dont let a bag thats too heavy ruin your back, but if it already has, and you need somewhere to treat back pain in Jacksonville, Florida, Riverside Pain Physicians can assist you.

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