Your Shoulder Bag May Be Hurting Your Back: Newport Chiropractor

Your Shoulder Bag May Be Hurting Your Back: Newport Chiropractor


If you’re a woman experiencing back, neck or shoulder pain, your shoulder bag might be the culprit.

Shoulder bags cause some of the same problems seen in children who carry their backpacks on one shoulder. Both the women and children lean to one side to offset the extra weight. Your muscles strain to compensate for the uneven load, which can lead to muscle strain, muscle spasm and back pain.

Wearing a shoulder bag also throws off your natural gait and your posture. Ultimately, you end up with one shoulder higher than the other. In addition, the asymmetric load causes the muscles in your spine to work harder.

The rule of thumb: don’t carry a bag that is more than 10 percent of your body weight. Research conducted on 11 children ages 8 to 11 examined the effects of various loads on a child’s posture: 10 percent of body weight, 15 percent and 20 percent. The researchers, led by Frances Kistner of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, concluded in 2012 that schoolchildren should limit their backpack loads to 10 percent of their body weight. The same is true of women’s purses.

If your load is heavier than 10 percent of your body weight, your head and neck jut forward rather than rest over your shoulders. The result can be headaches, neck tension, and back pain.

Here are ways to minimize the damage from carrying your shoulder bag:

1. Don’t carry the bag on the same side all the time; switch back and forth.

2. Avoid shoulder bags with long straps; opt for short-handled bags with wide straps

3. Choose one of three ways to carry the bag:

  • a. over your shoulder and tucked under your arm
  • b. over your forearm (or in the crook of your elbow)
  • c. or held in your hand.

4. The bag should fall as close to your center of gravity as possible. That means around the navel or waist if you’re average height, and at chest level if you’re petite. Very busty women should avoid shoulder bags because they’re already being pulled forward by the weight of their breasts.

5. To keep items from shifting around and throwing off your balance, make sure the bag has a definite shape, a firm base, and inner compartments.

Of course, if you do experience pain, you can visit a chiropractor for help. You don’t want your purse to pull your spine out of alignment, putting pressure on the delicate nerves that transmit messages from the brain to the rest of the body. That pressure leads to interference with your body’s interior communications system.

As spinal experts, chiropractors adjust your misaligned bones, allowing your body to work at peak efficiency. And chiropractors trained in Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) take that one step further, correcting spinal misalignments by remodeling and realigning the spine to restore normal nerve flow.

At Wellness Choice Center, Dr. Nona Djavid is among only a handful of Orange County, California, chiropractors trained in CBP. Wellness Choice chiropractors have helped thousands of Newport Beach, Irvine, Newport Coast, Corona Del Mar, and Costa Mesa, California, residents live healthier lives.

If you suffer from back or neck pain, call Wellness Choice Center at 949-387-1333 for a free consultation and exam to see if you qualify for care.