Whether it’s a handbag, purse, brief case or computer case, the bag you carry could be causing back, neck and shoulder pain. Most people automatically use their dominant side to carry their bags throughout the day. If you carry a purse on the same shoulder every day, or a handbag or computer case with the same hand every day, your pain may indicate a repetitive use injury.

Repetitive use injuries are characterized by strain that accrues over time. Carrying more weight on one side of the body every day pulls the shoulder on that side down, straining muscles and ligaments. Over time, posture becomes distorted, marked by the spine curving unnaturally and the head jutting forward. Uneven shoulders are a common sign of bag-related repetitive use injury.

It may seem overly dramatic to blame such serious problems on a bag, but the way we use our bodies on a daily basis has a definite impact on our health. Back pain is a highly common phenomenon, and many instances are caused by poor body mechanics. Sometimes the solution is as simple as changing the bag you carry or the way you carry it.

Types Of Bags To Carry

Finding an ergonomic bag may sound dreadful to those with high fashion sense, but being ergonomic will not doom you to hideous accessories. A number of options are available to those looking for bags that minimize strain on the back, neck and shoulders.

The first features to consider are strap width and length. Whether you’re slinging a bag over your shoulder or carrying it by hand, you’ll want a wide and short strap. The closer the weight of your bag is to the handle, the less pull will be exerted on your arm and shoulder. Short straps allow the weight of the bag to be carried closer to your center of gravity. Wide straps help distribute weight, reducing localized tension. Whether it’s a brief case, purse, handbag or computer case, go for shorter and wider straps.

Next, consider the weight of the bag when empty. It is generally recommended that people carry no more than 10% of their body weight throughout the day in their bags, so you’ll want a bag that does not comprise a significant portion of that on its own. Lighter material is preferred.

The next feature to consider is stability. To lessen the stress on your body, you’ll want a bag that keeps its contents stable, rather than one in which the weight is constantly shifting around. A sturdy base, defined shape and compartments help stabilize your belongings.

If you like the idea of a backpack but don’t want to look like a schoolchild, consider the ergonomic bags displayed here: http://www.ameribag.com/. Their unique shape and across-the-body carrying method reduce stress to the back, neck and shoulders. These bags sell for upwards of $55.00, but cheaper ones can be found on sites like eBay.

How To Carry Bags

The right type of bag won’t do any good if you carry it the wrong way. The following tips on how to carry your bag will help reduce strain.

Handbags are best that can be carried in a number of ways. Switching up your position will protect you from placing all of the burden on one side or part of your body. A bag that can be carried over the shoulder and tucked between your arm and side, carried by hand or carried in the crook of your elbow will allow you to spread the load. Make sure to switch shoulders or hands frequently.

If you have to carry many things, including something heavy like a laptop, go for two bags instead of one. A computer bag or briefcase can by carried by hand while a second bag, either an ergonomic backpack or handbag, can be carried on the opposite shoulder. This helps to balance the load your body carries.

A little attention to detail can go a long way, whether it’s fashion or the health of your back in question. The above tips will help eliminate the pain caused by the bag you carry throughout your day.