Back Pain see Chiropractor

Impact of Handbags

Your choice of handbag and how you carry it may be affecting your health long term, according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association.


Regularly carrying a large, heavy bag, can cause an alteration in your natural posture. When you add the combination of high heels it becomes a recipe for accelerated symptoms. The heels tilt your pelvis forward and cause adaptive muscle shortening over time, predisposing you to back pain. The heavy bag over one shoulder magnifies the risk of chronic pain and neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction.


Shoulder bags are one of the biggest issues. Your natural posture is disrupted if you carry one, and loading it with heavy items adds to the strain on your spine. It alters the way your arms and legs swing when you walk and increases tension in muscles as they work to counter-balance the weight. Long term this can make your body lopsided and affects your spinal posture. Chiropractors are highly trained in assessing and assisting with the damage that this may cause[1]. Prevention is of course always better than cure.’


People classically will favour placing a on shoulder bag on their dominant shoulder, thus causing asymmetry in our muscle tone as our dominant side adapts to harbouring this additional load regularly. In addition the muscles can spasm and fatigue, thus it can also affects lower down at the base of the spine, forcing all the muscles below the shoulders to work even harder.


Posture has also been shown to have an effect on many other areas of health and wellbeing beyond symptoms of pain such as mood, energy levels, self-confidence, range of motion, and change in the release of stress hormones.[3] [4] Poor posture can also negatively impact on occupational productivity, ability to make decision & general activities of daily life.[5]

Chiropractors advise their patients to never carry more than five percent of their body weight in a shoulder bag.  Bags with handles and or a wide strap will distribute the weight over a larger area, and the handles give an option to carry the bag in your hand or over your forearm.

Bags with handles or those with longer straps for crossbody wearing distribute the weight more evenly. However it may be advantageous to alternate the side of crossbody bag wearing to allow more even distribution of load.






Author Info

Chiropractor Auckland