A large percentage of the population suffers from back pain on a regular basis. There are many different causes of this epidemic. Back pain can stem from straining the muscles, sleeping or sitting in an awkward position, or even from the handbag that you carry. And even when the cause of back pain is not directly related to a handbag it can still make the problem worse. That’s why it’s a good idea to purchase a handbag with your back in mind.
Your handbag can actually lead to a number of health problems aside from back pain. It can cause muscle spasms, neck and shoulder pain, tension headaches, and sciatica. You can use the following guide to choose a bag that is less likely to cause these problems.
Shape And Structure
An oversized bag that can carry everything you ever needed sounds great, but it’s probably going to lead to some serious back and shoulder pain. It’s not necessarily the size of the bag that is the biggest problem, but its shape and structure. A bag needs a firm base and a constant shape to prevent items from moving back and forth as you walk.
When items freely move inside of a bag it means their weight is not evenly distributed. This leads to an imbalance which eventually leads to back pain. You can use an oversized bag if you like, but make sure that items stay in the relative position when walking. It also helps if there are plenty of compartments to help items stay in place.
Keep The Weight To A Minimum
Weight is much more important than the size of the bag. Most experts agree that it’s a bad idea to carry around more than 10 percent of your body weight. By carrying too much weight you put additional stress on the neck, shoulders, and lower back. It also leads to improper posture with the head and neck that further increases back pain.
The heavier the purse is when empty, the fewer items you’ll be able to carry without crossing the limit. The best handbags for back pain will be lightweight. Of course, it’s still up to you to avoid stuffing the bag with too many heavy items. Don’t be afraid to put the bag on a scale to ensure it stays under the limit.
An easy way to limit the weight of your handbag is to avoid bags with extra embellishments. This includes chains, grommets, and buckles. All of those add-ons are simply extra weight that doesn’t make the bag any more useful.
Pay Attention To The Strap
Thin straps and chain links may seem fashionable, but they will cause more harm than they are worth. A thin strap or chain is going to dig into the acromioclavicular joint. That’s the place where the shoulder and the collarbone connect. There are tiny ligaments in the joint and they are easily aggravated by handbag straps.
To avoid damaging this joint you need a strap that is wide enough to evenly distribute the weight across the shoulder. It’s recommended that you choose a bag that has a strap of at least five centimeters. Generally speaking, the wider the strap the better it can distribute the weight. This will prevent damaging the joint and causing unnecessary shoulder pain.
Consider Going Compact
When you carry an oversized bag you will be tempted to carry more things. After all, you can fit in your favorite books, all of your spare change, enough makeup to last a month, and plenty of snacks. All of this adds up and suddenly you bag weighs twenty pounds more than it should. It’s easy to start off thinking this won’t happen, but small items can accumulate over time without being noticed.
You can avoid this entirely by switching to a compact handbag. This isn’t to say a compact bag is better just because it is compact. It’s possible for compact bags to cause more back pain as well if they are not properly toted. But the fact that you are less likely to exceed 10 percent of your body weight makes them a good choice if you struggle with self-control.
A Handbag That’s Right For You
The bag that is best for someone else may not be best for you. It’s important that you find a bag that meshes with your height and how you move. Ideally, the bag shouldn’t be too high up or too low down on the body. In either scenario, it will have a negative effect on how your arms and hips swing. This can lead to stiffness and back pain.
The only way to tell if the bag is right for you is to try wearing it. The bag should find the sweet spot near your center of gravity. This means it should be close to the waist or slightly higher near the chest. Don’t let the appearance of the handbag encourage you to make a purchase that isn’t right for you. There’s guaranteed to be a bag that will fit your body style.
Testing the bag for yourself can make it difficult to buy bags online. If you do purchase your handbags on the internet, make sure you use a company that will allow for returns. You might go through several purchases before you find a bag that is the right weight and has straps of the right width and length. It’s also helpful if the site includes information about the bag, such as as the strap length and bag weight.
Carrying Your Bag
Properly carrying your bag is just as important as finding the best handbag for back pain. Two important factors to keep in mind are limiting the weight of the bag and periodically swapping shoulders. If you’re walking a lot, you should change the shoulder you are carrying your bag on every couple of blocks. This allows the weight to distribute more evenly on the muscles in the shoulder and back. Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll reduce the amount of back pain caused by your handbag.