This everyday accessory most women can’t live without may be damaging your posture and causing you back pain. How to stop it?

How often do you pick up your handbag and immediately think “ooh, that’s a bit heavy.”

If you are anything like me, your handbag will contain the following essentials: purse, chewing gum, phone, phone charger, book, knitting, keys, makeup, a small bottle of water, deodorant, perfume and anything else I have purchased that day that I can shove into the bag.

But all these extras we carry around with us on a daily basis could be seriously damaging our posture and spine.

The weight of the bag is pulling one side of your body down which causes a core imbalance, which is a leading cause of back pain.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, your handbag should weigh no more than 10% of your bodyweight. With this in mind, the first thing you should do is go shopping (yay). The number one thing you can do to reduce your back pain from a heavy handbag is to use a smaller handbag than you usually do, forcing you to reduce what you carry.

Here are a few tips for reducing your back pain and improving your posture.

1. Don’t text and walk

Nothing is that important that it can’t wait until you have reached your destination or sat down. Texting and walking further the pull that your heavy bag is already doing to your body. By looking down whilst you walk, you are making the curve go flat.

2. Try a backpack

Whilst backpack may conjure up traumatic memories of your school days, there are some really fashionable options for the over 16s! A Swedish brand called Fjällräven has been making backpacks for over 50 years. The brand came about from a high number of children experiencing back pain.

The Kanken, the brand’s most popular design helped millions of backs and is one of their best sellers. Another stylish option could be one from the French designer, Longchamp.

3. Be free

Try and go bag free as often as you can. Not only will it help your back it surprisingly makes you feel a lot more free and carefree. Pop your cards into a slim card wallet and leave the phone at home!

4. Go shopping…again

Yes, that’s right, another excuse to go shopping, this time you will be needing to buy new shoes. If you are a fan of the high heel you might want to consider investing in a flat shoe. Wearing high heels tilts the pelvis forward giving you a predisposition to back pain.

When you add on a heavy bag pulling your body down to one side, you are asking for a lot of troubles…and uncomfortable back pain.

5. Switch it up

If you do insist upon a shoulder bag as opposed to a trusty backpack, ensure that you frequently switch shoulders when carrying your bag to ensure you balance the weight and therefore muscle development is equal.

6. Wide straps

When you are out shopping for a new bag, try and go for one that had thick straps as this will distribute the weight across a wider area. By doing this, you will protect the delicate areas of the shoulder and reduce the damage of nerves in the neck and arms.

Don’t be a victim to fashion, those of us who have suffered from short-term back problems know just how painful and uncomfortable it can be. If you can prevent it, do, there are so many choices of footwear and accessories that you can still look amazing whilst protecting your back.

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