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Handbag Ergomonics
Pack it light, wear it right.

Handbag ergonomics: choose, pack, and wear it the right way.

Simple tips to properly choose, pack, and wear a handbag in order to promote spinal health and prevent injury.

Women sometimes carry what seems like the world in their handbag. However, a heavy handbag, shoulder bag, or purse can injure your back, neck, and shoulders. Handbags also create poor posture by encouraging the carrier to lean to one side, which reduces their ability to maintain balance and restricts movement.

Choosing a handbag.

  1. Choose a handbag that is proportionate to your body size and not larger than what is needed. Your handbag should not weigh more than 10 to 15 per cent of your body weight.
  2. Select a bag made of lightweight material such as vinyl or canvas instead of leather. I know leather looks and wears nice but it comes with a price in more ways than one. :)
  3. The shoulder straps should be wide, adjustable, and padded if possible. Ensure the straps do not fit too snugly. Poorly designed shoulder straps can dig deep into muscles causing strain and pinched nerves.
  4. If possible, select a strap that is long enough to place over your head to rest on the opposite side of the body to help distribute weight more evenly.
  5. Choose a handbag that has several individual pockets instead of one large compartment. This will help to distribute the weight evenly and keep contents of the bag from shifting.

Packing a handbag.

  1. Resist the urge to carry everything with you all day. Pay attention to the things that you use most often. Consider leaving some less commonly used items behind.
  2. Fully clean out your purse once a week.
  3. Change the size and weight of your wallet once in a while. You may also consider a wallet for your work and a different one for when you go out, as you may need different objects for both.
  4. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed in the purse by using all the pockets and pack the heaviest items at the bottom.

Carrying a handbag.

  1. Use both hands to check the weight of the handbag.
  2. Instead of always carrying your handbag on the same shoulder, switch sides often.
  3. Square your shoulders. Many women have a habit of lifting the shoulder the purse is on to keep the strap from slipping. This is helped by putting the strap over your head and on the opposite shoulder.

More tips to help.

  1. Try to maintain good posture. When standing, your head, shoulders, hips, and ankles should line up, one comfortably above the other. Your knees should be slightly bent and your feet should be shoulder-width apart or more. For good posture, try to flatten your back against a wall or chair. Roll your shoulders back and down and slowly pull your head and chin back.
  2. Exercise can help prevent injury. Regular exercise such as walking, swimming, or bicycling will help the body stay conditioned. Stretching before and after activities will help reduce muscle strain.
  3. If you can walk to a meeting or during lunch, lock your purse in your desk or locker and carry only your cash and/or cards in a pocket.

Remember to Pack it Light and Wear it Right. Injuries resulting from improper lifting and carrying of a heavy load can become chronic and can impact your quality of life. If you experience pain that lasts more than two or three days, call for an appointment to have it looked at.

Dr. Evans is a chiropractor dedicated to providing clients with natural, effective, health care in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

Dr. Ormond's 10 General Tips for a Healthy Back

  1. Exercise regularly.
  2. Follow a healthy diet.
  3. Maintain good posture as much as possible.
  4. Do an active warm up before activity and stretch after.
  5. Don't overload your backpack or shoulder bag.
  6. Stretch your legs and back after each hour of sitting.
  7. Never cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder.
  8. Sleep on your back or side, not on your stomach.
  9. Invest in a good chair, pillow and mattress. It's worth it!
  10. Have regular spinal check-ups.

Back Problem Warning Signs

  • Leg pain with numbness, tingling, and/or weakness.
  • Back or leg pain with coughing or sneezing.
  • Difficulty standing up after sitting for any period of time.
  • Stiffness in the morning that decreases when you move around.
  • Pain in your hip, buttock, thigh, knee, or foot.
  • Inability to turn or bend to each side equally.
  • Unbalanced posture, when your head, neck, or shoulder may be higher on one side than the other.
  • Pain which prevents you from sleeping well.
  • Pain that persists or worsens after 48 hours.

Pointing clients in the right direction towards a healthy, pain free, and productive lifestyle is important to Dr. Mitch Ormond. Treating most conditions is the easy part, its following through with the decision to get a problem taken care of that is the hard part.

Call 416.598.4999, email Dr. Mitch Ormond, or drop by the clinic for more information. You can get specific directions to the clinic by filling out our Mapquest® form.

Find out more about how we can help with your individual health care needs. Appointments recommended.

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