Heavy Handbag Weighing You Down?

New studies show women are sacrificing health for fashion, putting themselves at risk for back pain and spinal injury by lugging oversized and over-filled handbags.

A recent survey by Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (Vic) of over 100 women found that the weight of the average woman’s handbag was over 3.6kg. Over 75% of the women also admitted to always carrying their handbag on one shoulder.

The main culprits for a weighty bag were staples such as make-up, large water bottles, iPads and laptops, perfume, diaries, wallets and food.

“Carrying a heavy handbag on one side for an extended period of time can  affect the natural curve of the spine.  This can lead to chronic neck and shoulder pains, back pains and headaches,” said CAA (Vic) spokesperson, Dr Helen Alevaki.

A heavy handbag can pull the spine out of line, straining the muscles of the back and make the carrier lean in the opposite direction to compensate for the weight.

TOP TIPS FROM THE CHIROPRACTERS' ASSOCIATION:

- Regularly clean out any excess "stuff" from your handbag that you don’t need for that day. Bigger handbags tend to gather more stuff, so the smaller your bag the better! It’s important that your handbag is less than 10% of your body weight.

- Choose a bag with a long, wide strap. That way, you can put the strap over your head and wear the bag across your body. This will distribute the weight evenly and prevent imbalance.

- If you can't wear your bag diagonally across your shoulder, make sure you regularly swap the side on which you carry it.

- Carry a smaller water bottle- there is really no need to be lugging a litre of water around with you, and remember 1L= 1kg! Water bottles 500ml or less are ideal, and you can always refill them.

- Focus on your posture. Walk upright and don't slouch—this will help keep your body balanced, despite carrying a heavy load.

- Carry your electronic devices and work folders in separate bags and distribute the weight as evenly as possible.

- Do not wait to seek treatment for pain – you can avoid injury and get your spine checked at your local Chiropractor to assess what’s really happening.-

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