Is your handbag too heavy for your body?

Let’s be real, the world loves big bags and what’s there not to love? Think again because this is one scenario where bigger is definitely not better! While big bags are just perfect for carrying around everything you need from that bottle of hand sanitiser that you just had to buy to those receipts you keep forgetting to throw out, it’s really bad news for your body especially with the increasing weight of handbags nowadays. Those gorgeous designer bags just keep growing in size and nowadays they even come with lots of zippers and studs, making them heavier than ever. Well, if you’re a handbag packrat, keep reading to see why it’s time to clear your heavy handbag out!

A lady is carrying a big black handbag.
Big handbags generally result in users carrying much more stuff than necessary.

1. Your natural gait is disrupted

Carrying a heavy handbag on one shoulder significantly interferes with our normal gait. Our gait helps to keep our body balanced. Having a heavy handbag on one side of the body prevents the arm on that side from swinging properly as we instinctively try to prevent the load from swinging. Thus to make sure that our body stay balanced, the other arm has to swing more. This can result in many problems, such as chronic pain, should the situation persist.

2. Your posture is thrown off

Since more weight is acting on one shoulder, your muscles are off balance due to the asymmetric load. Your body leans to the other side to counterbalance the weight. As such, your posture is thrown off. Most people tend to carry handbags on their dominant side — right-handed people will tend to hang it over your right shoulder. But this causes the muscles in your dominant shoulder, particularly the trapezius muscle, to become bigger. Over time a lopsided posture can develop from the forced muscle development on one side. Carrying an asymmetric load also causes muscles in your spine to compensate for the weight, causing spasms in the opposite side of the spine, lower back and sacrum (the bone at the base of the lower spine) — the more skewed the load is, the harder your body will have to work to counterbalance it.

3. Tension headache/muscle tension

Due to your body’s efforts to redistribute the extra weight, your muscles tense more and as such become stiff. The trapezius muscle and the muscles that go from your shoulder to the base of your neck, which sits on top of your shoulders, may spasm and therefore tighten, resulting in a lot of stiffness in the upper back, shoulder area and neck. This may lead to pain when turning your head and the development of arthritis in the lower neck. Some may even develop tension headaches from constantly carrying heavy handbags. As the muscles in your shoulder and neck area spasm, it can result in pain from the back of your skull that radiates around to the front.

A man can be partially seen carrying a brown leather shoulder bag and a thick book.
Men are also at risk due to the heavy shoulder bags they carry.

While the name ‘handbag syndrome’ may suggest that only women suffer from this ailment, men are also affected now more than ever as well due to laptops and the additional weight of accessories such as the charger and mouse. Simply getting an ergonomic shoulder bag is not sufficient as your body will still be adversely affected should the weight of your shoulder bag be too much.  The best solution is to lighten your bag. Try getting rid of bulky items such as hardcover books and old-fashioned schedule diaries and replacing them with the Inkcase which transforms your phone into an e-reader and planner without adding any weight to your bag!

InkCase i7
The Inkcase is the world’s slimmest and lightest e-reader.