Bowen Me - Structural and Soft Tissue Therapist
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SHOULDER PAIN?…It could be your handbag.

Lady’s handbags are a cause of neck and shoulder tension.

The problem with handbags is the weight and in particular how that weight is distributed.

The average weight of a ladies handbag is around 3-4 kgs these days. While this doesn’t sound that much, if I asked you to carry a 3-4 kg dumbbell over your shoulder for 2-3 hours a day, imagine how you’d feel?

The handbag strap usually sits half way between the shoulder joint and your neck on top of the shoulder muscles. Right under those muscles are important nerves, blood vessels and your 1st rib. Yes, that’s right, your 1st rib!

Almost every patient I say that to says, “Do I have ribs up there?”

The problem here is that the downward pressure caused by the strap of the handbag can cause tension on the muscles under the strap and downward force on the 1st rib. If there’s prolonged tension on top of the 1st rib this can cause pain in the arm, numbness or tingling in the hand or even circulatory problems in the fingers.

The most common result of carrying a heavy handbag though is pain and stiffness over the neck & shoulders.


Where can you put your phone, hairbrush, toiletries, make-up, mirror, umbrella, phone book….???

Here’s some tips…

- Carry your handbag over your shoulder and across your chest.

- Swap sides ever day.

- Buy a bag that has a wide strap to distribute the weight.

- If fashion is not as important to you as comfort, carry a backpack not a handbag.

- Avoid handbags you can only carry in one hand, because they’re too big to carry over your shoulder.

Of course my advice wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t suggest that you might want to have a look at the contents of your bag from time to time. Handbags seem to be a bit like a favourite drawer in the kitchen, where we put stuff that we never use & can’t think where else to put, just in case we might need it one day.

15 Comments to SHOULDER PAIN?…It could be your handbag.:

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