Live a little better every day

Start now! Sign up to receive daily inspiration to your inbox

A woman is standing in the snow with a black leather backpack on. She is wearing all black and is facing away from the camera so that the backpack is the focus.

Is Carrying Your Bag Ruining Your Posture?

A purse or bag is undeniably a fashion accessory; all of these are also a convenient place to put everything you need outside of the house. These are often filled with your wallet, phone, sunglasses, makeup, laptop, and more.

Hello fellow adult, do you have body pain? (We know that this is a trick question). So, crazy thought, what if your bag is the root of all your shoulder and postural aches and pains?

If you’ve ever had shoulder or neck pain after carrying your purse or bag around all day, you know exactly what I mean. It’s likely the reason you’re reading this article right now.

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of it.

How Is Your Bag Affecting Your Posture?

Posture is all about balance and proper alignment. Carrying any type of bag on one shoulder inevitably causes imbalances and improper alignment. It might cause you to lean to one side. It may create muscle tension in muscles that aren’t made for that. You end up with a stiff or sore neck and pain in your back or shoulders. It ain’t fun!

And if you’re all about putting your health first, you’ve come to the right place. Step one is understanding what’s causing your pain in the first place. It can help you prevent future pain, as well as help you reduce the pain at hand.

Like a lot of things in life, it comes down to balance and symmetry. Good posture is symmetrical and any load - like a purse or bag - can throw off the innate and symmetrical balance that keeps your spine in line and your body upright.

A good posture is also about the natural curvature of the spine. When things are properly aligned in this fashion, your muscles come under the least amount of stress possible. Everything works and moves in harmony.

Related Article: Straighten Up! 5 Quick Exercises for Better Posture

Do You Carry a Bag on One Side of Your Body?

If you answered, “yes,” it’s time to rethink this part of your lifestyle, especially if you’re experiencing major back, neck, or shoulder pain.

By carrying a bag on one side of your body, you’re creating an abundant of misalignment as well as seriously stressed out muscles and tissues.

Now you might be thinking “okay, wait… I can’t carry a purse?” Well, you can, but you’ll definitely want to put some effort and hard work into counteracting any negative effects of doing so or you’ll want to seriously consider lessening the load of your one-sided purse.

If you need to carry heavy items out of the house - like a laptop - consider a backpack instead. A properly adjusted backpack will pose less of a threat to your posture and body. If that isn’t an option, a cross-body bag is the next best thing. Again, it will have a bigger and more detrimental impact on your body and posture than a balanced backpack.

What is the Right Way to Wear a Backpack?

Glad you asked! By asking, you’re headed in the right direction to put your health first and reduce your pain.

Ideally, you don’t want your backpack to sag down near your butt. Tighten up the straps! The closer it is to your back, the less it’ll weigh you down and throw off your alignment.

The best type of backpacks come with those chest and waist straps. If your backpack has these, do them up. They create extra support and disperse the weight across your entire core.

Definitely put both straps on. Make sure that you do not swing the backpack on and let it hang on one side, this is a huge no-no. When packing your bag, place the heavier items in the bottom the lightest items go at the top. It’s simple and easy to remember!

If you’re in school, try to only bring the items you need as well. Don’t bother carrying around unnecessary weight that you won’t use. It’ll only create more pain down the road. Now you know the basics, but what about your pain? Your neck, shoulder or back feels tight and you need something to relieve it!

Also Read: Wrist Pain? Office Ergonomics 101

Get Stretching!

Here are some types of stretches to help ya out!

1. The Neck Stretch

Sit up tall. Place your left hand under your buttocks. Gently bring your right ear toward your right shoulder. Pause when you feel a nice and gentle stretch through the left side of the neck. Hold here for about 20-30 seconds. If you want a little more, pull your head down using your right hand.

After you’ve counted off 20-30 seconds, bring your gaze and nose toward your right armpit. This should move the stretch toward the back of the right side of your neck. Again, hold for 20-30 seconds.

Repeat this on the other side. Perform the stretch up to 3-5 times per day.

2. The Rhomboid Stretch

Hold both your hands straight in front of you, interlacing the fingers with your palms facing in. Push your shoulder blades apart as you do so. You should feel a gentle stretch in between the shoulder blades at your mid to upper back. Hold here for 20-30 seconds.

3. Child’s Pose

This is a great one for your whole posterior chain and your back! Start on all-fours. Gently bring your buttocks back toward your heels. Rest on your heels if you can. Hold here for 20-30 seconds or even up to a minute if it feels good.

4. Head and Neck Circles

This is basically just to help you loosen up the muscles around your neck and shoulders. Move your head from side to side, then up and down, then from left to right. Do this about 5-10 times. If your shoulders feel stiff, try gently moving your arms in circles one way then the next. Again, repeat this for about 5-10 repetitions.

All these exercises you can do about 2-5 times per day. If any pain occurs, ease off or top the stretch.

It’s Time to Ditch That Heavy Purse!

…if it’s causing you problems that is! Don’t jeopardize your health for fashion, It’s not worth it! Consider lightening your load in whatever way you can and stretch often.

You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.

Want to learn more about stretches that can improve your body and your mind? Check out the Sunrise Flow: 10 Poses for Your Morning Yoga Flow.
Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

You May Also Like

Feed Your Body Friday: Mango, Chicken, & Rice Salad Body
Feed Your Body Friday: Mango, Chicken, & Rice Salad
5 Foods That Will Enhance Your Spiritual Connection Body
5 Foods That Will Enhance Your Spiritual Connection
Written Emotions: How Journaling Heals Mental Blocks Mind
Written Emotions: How Journaling Heals Mental Blocks
Even Superheroes Have Limitations Soul
Even Superheroes Have Limitations

Next Article