How Carrying Heavy Handbags and Backpacks Is Hurting Your Posture and Back

January 28, 2020
  • Author : Carolyn Mohsenzadeh

Back pain is a common ailment that plagues the lives of about 31 million Americans during their lifetime. Lower back pain affects people of all ages and can significantly impact your overall wellbeing. In fact, it causes a loss of 264 million working days every year because people are unable to function normally because of the discomfort.

Ruptured discs, arthritis, traumatic injuries, and strain on your back muscles are common causes of this debilitating pain. This dull, radiating pain reduces your range of motion and significantly impacts your posture.

One common cause of back pain that is often overlooked is resting right on your shoulder for a great part of the day: your handbag for women and backpacks and computer satchel for men.

Carrying heavy handbags or computer bags can cause a range of back and posture-related problems.

Some of the ways that these handy accessories have a long-term impact on your physical wellbeing include:

One-Sided Stress

Most women carry their handbags on the same shoulder every single day. The muscles in your shoulder, neck, and upper back, develop more than the others because of this uneven distribution of weight. The relatively weaker muscles on the other side will impact your posture significantly and make you lean towards your dominant side.

Your shoulders begin to roll forward due to the weight of your handbag and will strain your back and neck muscles and cause asymmetrical pain on one side.

There’s No Weight Distribution

Lugging around a heavy bag on your shoulder places unsupported weight on your back and shoulders. The thin straps are often unable to support the weight and, thus, put strain on your muscles.

The lack of weight distribution causes you to lean to one side and affects your ability to maintain an upright posture. Studies have often looked into the effects of backpack weight on the posture of school children. Students can experience a variety of back pain related conditions by carrying about 10 percent of their mean body weight on their shoulders.

Heavy Bags Affect Your Natural Gait

Your natural gait is how your legs and arms swing when you walk. This imperative aspect of maintaining your balance is affected when you carry a heavy handbag or backpack on one shoulder.

The gait plays an important role in keeping your back upright and supporting a healthy posture. Uneven weight distribution forces you to alter your gait and swing one arm more than the other. This adjustment affects your neck and shoulders by increasing the exertion of one side while leaving the other dormant.

Muscle Stiffness

The trapezius muscle, which is located on top of your shoulders, can tighten and spasm from the excessive weight on your shoulder. The stiffness in the neck and shoulder area can hinder your daily functioning and reduce your neck’s full range of motion.

The curve in your neck decreases as a result of carrying the heavy weight of your handbag for long periods of time and permanently alters your posture.

Live a Pain-Free Life with Us

At Houston Neurosurgery & Spine’s neck and spine center Houston, our experts specialize in non-invasive and minimally-invasive procedures to relieve the severe pain caused by carrying heavy handbags and computer bags.

Our resident physicians include one of the country’s leading neurosurgeons and uses a variety of technologically-advanced, innovative assessment and treatment procedures.

The specialized care you receive at our neck pain and back and spine clinic Houston is based upon your individual diagnosis.

We’re dedicated to providing you treatment solutions that relieve back pain and improve your quality of life. Call us today at 832.522.8500 to schedule an appointment in Houston.