Could your handbag be wreaking havoc on your health?

Women love their handbag – it’s almost an extension of their bodies! You can find just about anything you need

Women love their handbag – it’s almost an extension of their bodies! You can find just about anything you need within i’s depths, though it might take a while. In all seriouness, a big handbag full of stuff isn’t just a mess to sort, it could be wreaking havoc on your health.

Have you ever heard of ‘heavy purse syndrome’? It’s not just the strain you feel after a long day at the shops – it can be a very serious issue that can cause damage.

If you’re experiencing back, shoulder pain, arm pain or a tingling in your hands, it’s possible your bag’s adding trauma to your spine.

According to Dr Ayla Azad, a chiropractor and VP of the Ontario Chiropractic Association, lugging a full bag on a daily basis can cause stress and injury to your body.

“Females don’t realise that it’s their bag [causing the discomfort],” she says. “They think it’s the way they’re sitting at their computer, or how they lift something, when it’s actually the repetitive action of carrying their purse every day”.

Your handbag could be contributing to poor posture, muscle pain, sciatica, tendinitis and tension headaches, so it could be worthwhile to consider these things:

1. Buy a smaller bag

It can be tempting to buy a bigger bag but that can mean you’re more tempted to fill it with all sorts of things you don’t need. Opt for a small purse that stores just the essentials.

2. Empty some stuff out

Sounds easy but you might feel attachment to some things you feel you have to carry. A purse, keys, phone, lipstick, a small bottle of perfume and a comb is adequate.

3. Avoid thin straps

The thinner the straps, the harder your shoulders and bag will strain. Look for comfortable thick straps that don’t dig in.

4. Consider a backpack

If you do need to carry a lot of stuff, consider a backpack with comfy straps and back support. It will even out the load!

5. Carry carefully

Don’t balance your bag on your wrist or elbow – place it firmly on the shoulder and switch sides often.


Tell us, has this information surprised you? Will you be more careful with your bag?


  1. I believe that and here is a handy hint, that I learned the hard way, check the lining of your bag for and small rips or holes, my handbag was getting heavier and heavier, I was thinking oh boy am I getting old when I can’t even carry my handbag, I emptied everything out and it was still heavy, I had a small tear in the lining and there was over $50 of change that had found it’s way inside. I had been lugging around a lot of metal in small change

  2. This is so true. I was the first aid officer at my work. One of the managers ran in to get me one night to say one of the stafd had been hit by a bus outside. What had really happened was that she was sitting down waiting for the bus, saw it coming, got up to run over to get on board and the weight of her bag on her shoulder propelled her forward and she couldn’t stop fell off the footpath and ran into the side of the bus. Broke her ankle in 4 places. When I was helping her into the ambulance I could hardly lift her handbag. The rubbish she had in there for “in case” was ridiculous. Eg box of earings in case she lost one during the day. Huge bag of cosmetics (for being at work ) the list goes on and on. Her mother made her buy a much smaller bag. So yes it is dangerous.

    • No it was a box full of earings. Books as I said LOTS of unnecessary items she didn’t need at all on a daily basis. The combined weight of ALL these items was what caused the problem. Got it now?

  3. You women carry around everything bar the kitchen sink in those handbags, I cut my finger and within 2 shakes of a lambs tail the wife produced banaides and antiseptic from her handbag to bandage it up, she asked me if it was sore and whipped out some panadol just incase

  4. I have completely given up shoulder bags. My new ‘handbag’ is just that, with enough room for the daily essentials … and nothing else! My neck and shoulders thank me.

  5. I can understand this. I carry a lot of stuff (medications,wipes,wet cloth,water etc) all necessary for my seriously ill husband. What can I do? I do carry my bag across my body when I can so hopefully won’t be so bad for me.

  6. Russell  

    Carrying a bag diagonally with eg strap on left shoulder & bag on right side can help greatly. Some people can have conditions where this is worse, but for me it makes a vast difference. I carry a heavy DSLR camers & a side sling strap stops pain which otherwise becomes severe after some hours.

  7. I dont carry much in my handbag, clear it out regularly so I can put some shopping in it when I need to.

  8. I’m like David James wife😊 always prepared for anything, & my grandson thinks that many surprises live in my bag for him, and he’s correct😘

  9. I only carry my phone, the cover has a spot for a bit of cash, my licence and debit card. What more do I need? I have a 3 1/2 year old to tote around too most of the time. The less other stuff the better.

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