Ergonomic Purse and Shoulder Bag

Why is an Ergonomic purse important? Do you know about the 'Handbag Syndrome'? Is your purse ergonomic for you? See how to choose an ergonomic purse below

Most of us carry our belongings in a purse or a shoulder bag. Or if you are male, you would carry a briefcase or an ergonomic shoulder bag.

We seldom stop to think about these days, but have you ever wondered if your back pain or neck aches are caused by your bag?


While our purses keeps our hands free to do other things, carrying a heavy load, a wrong sized bag or carrying our bag in a harmful way (for instance, using only one shoulder, or the weight is too heavy for us to use our hands to carry) can cause stress to our spines. They throw off our posture, pinch the nerves in our neck and shoulder, hindering circulation and vascular flow.

The 'Handbag (or Purse) Syndrome'

Heavy purses cause shoulder and neck aches

ergonomic bag shoulder

The neck has a natural curve that evenly distributes pressures on the spine. When one carries a heavy bag for a long time, this natural curve gets distorted which leads to chronic neck, shoulder, back pains and sometimes headaches.

Over the long run, it can accelerate serious injuries such as herniated discs and degeneration of the cervical spine.

We seem to be carrying more these days. Laptops, multiple phones, earth friendly but heavy water bottles etc etc.

We usually have a favorite purse carrying position which is harmful. We are advised to switch positions every half an hour. This helps us not 'cut' off the circulations of our arms.

Read more about Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders.

See how to apply Ergonomics in the Home.

How to Choose An Ergonomic Purse

Purses should not weigh more than 3 kg or 6.5 Ibs (pounds). Ideally, you should not carry more than 2.5 lbs or 1 kg everyday. Choose a lightweight purse to minimize the weight you are carrying around. Don't purchase a big bag, you'll just be tempted to fill it.

Choose a purse that is proportionate to your body size (this rule applies in elegance and fashion as well!).

Your ergonomic shoulder purse should not interfere with your motion.

If possible, choose a purse with padded straps to help distribute the weight and pressure across your shoulder. The wider the straps the better.

Good Ergonomic Purse Habits

  • Alternate shoulders by switching the bag from side to side.

  • Do not slump your shoulders when you are carrying your bag on your shoulder. It adds to the strain.
  • Don't let your bag cause you to lean to one side.

  • Reduce the load you carry around by constantly 'editing' your wallet, purse or bag. Carry only the bare essentials.

  • If you must carry an item, try to get the travel size option.

  • Leave your loyalty cards in your glove compartment of your car or a 'shopping' bag (bag that you use when you go shopping)

  • If you cannot seem to reduce the weight of your purse to about 6 lbs (3 kg) or less, consider a purse which you carry like a backpack. It distributes the weight between your shoulders more evenly.





  • Go back to Home Ergonomics.

    References: Coreconcepts Woman's day Pain free Purse Carrying

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