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Is Your Handbag Literally a Pain in the Neck?



Purses. You love them, but they’re getting to be a pain in the neck – literally. Neck pain is something that is very common, and something most people go through regularly in their lives. Just because it’s something people regularly go through, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do about it. More than 60 percent of people experience neck pain at some point in their lives. Here’s how to consistently move over to the pain-free 40 percent.

Work out. Few people really enjoy this, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to strengthen your back, neck, and other muscles. Doing that will really reduce your risk of injury, lessen existing pain, and give you all of the many benefits associated with being in good physical condition. Hire a trainer who will teach you how to strengthen your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and legs through simple compound movements like the squat and deadlift. You don’t need to spend a lot of time in the gym (1 to 2 hours a week) when you’re doing the right exercises.

Carry smaller bags. Do you really need huge backs? It might be fashionable, but it’s also killing your neck. Unless you’ve been working out, your neck isn’t meant to have a lot of weight pulling on it. Consider a smaller bag. It can still be fashionable, and it will save your neck and spine.

Only carry essentials. When you leave the house, only carry what you absolutely need. If you carry more, you only risk injury. Plan your trips out in advance, or have several different purses handy for several different types of trips.

Switch it up. If you’re always slinging your handbag over the same shoulder, try carrying it over the opposite shoulder. Change shoulders every 15 minutes to avoid stressing one side of your body too much. After a half-hour, take a 10-minute break to allow your body to relax.

Get a shoulder strap. Shoulder straps are great for distributing the weight across your neck and shoulders when you’re carrying a heavy handbag or purse. These are similar to shoulder straps that you can purchase for seatbelts (they keep the seatbelt from digging into your neck and shoulder). Like shoulder straps for seatbelts, straps for your purse will prevent the straps from digging into your neck.

Wear a fanny pack. Fanny packs can be cute, and you don’t have to settle for cheesy ’80’s styling. Modern fanny packs look more like purses that you wear around your waist. They will totally eliminate the strain on your neck and upper back by placing all of the weight around your hips, which can more easily bear the load.

Get a backpack. Switch things up a bit by wearing a backpack now and then. It will give your neck a break. If you get a backpack that hugs your back and distributes the weight across the full width and length of your back, you won’t be trading one problem for another.