Carrying a large, heavy purse can be a literal pain in your neck and can even lead to serious injury. It strains your muscles, tendons, nerves and ligaments and causes your posture to shift as you carry it around, which can lead to back pain, body aches and headaches.
6 tips to alleviate purse pain or injury
These tips can help you alleviate pain or injury from a heavy purse:
- Engage your core. When you carry your purse, keep your abs engaged, your weight centered over your feet and your shoulder blades down and back.
- Switch it up. Don't carry your purse on the same side all the time. Switch sides every few minutes to give your body a break and avoid pain.
- Avoid elbow overload. Hold your purse on your shoulder, not in the crook of your arm. This will help you avoid elbow injuries like tendinitis.
- Wear it diagonally. Sling it across your body and adjust the strap to minimize swing. This will help your trunk carry more of the load, saving your lower back from strain.
- Keep it neat. Keep your purse's weight in check by removing unnecessary keys or items from your keychain, carrying a downsized, all-in-one makeup kit, clearing your wallet of unnecessary items every other day, and tossing expired coupons on a monthly basis.
- Carry two small bags. Limit strain by carrying two small bags instead of one heavy one.
More comfortable purse choices
If a new purse is on your list, consider these more comfortable options:
- Crossbody bags. A crossbody bag is carried around your shoulders and across your body, easing strain on your arms and lower back.
- Purses with wide straps. Wider straps help distribute the weight of your bag across a wider area, protecting the delicate structures in your shoulders where nerves go from the neck into the arm.
- Purses you can carry in more than one way. A bag with handles and a long strap allows you to switch from holding it in your hand or on your arm to carrying it on your shoulders, giving your arms and shoulders periodic breaks.
- Small handbags. You're more tempted to carry more items with a large purse. A small purse with less room forces you to carry only the things you need.
Learn how The Christ Hospital Physical and Occupational Therapy teams cares for conditions like back pain and muscle strain.