Is my bag causing my back pain?

Make up kit, planner, keys, hand lotion and sanitizer, sunglasses, perfume, business cards, hair brush are some of the items that can cause your purse to get very heavy. If you are one of those people, who carries a big purse to work everyday then I have news for you! Did you know improper walking from trying to carry your heavy purse can also lead to back pain? Lets check out how walking in a wrong way can contribute to your back pain.

Lets start with kinesiology first. Primary purpose of low back is to bend forward, back and to the sides. Primary purpose of our midback is to be able to rotate. In order to carry the bag with ease, women pin it against the ribcage, underneath same side arm. That stops the turning motion in our midback and we stop swinging our arms. Instead we compensate by trying to twist our low back and hike our hips. Forcing our low back to twist causes low back pain. Our back tightens up on one side which also creates asymmetry.

The same idea applies when we carry groceries in one hand.

leaning overpurse

A picture is worth a thousand words. When we are carrying a heavy bag on one side, we lean towards the opposite side and stop rotating in order not to swing the bag. The load bearing shoulder will be higher and pushed back to stabilize the load. This will create a backward rotation on the side that you carry, Prolonged carrying on one side will tighten up your back, cause muscle imbalance and stiffness.

What to do?

  • Lighten up your load
  • Switch sides while carrying – Think of symmetry!
  • Switch to roller briefs or rolling purses
  • if you are carrying more than one bag, carry one on each side


photographs retrieved from:

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