My Bag is Killing Me

The above headline comes from an article in the December 7, 2006 New York Times and describes a growing concern that women’s bags are growing bigger and creating more spinal problems. The article interviews several experts who seem to agree that women’s bags are getting heavier and therefore putting more pressure on their spines.

Dr. Karen Erickson, a chiropractor who has a private practice in New York City and also serves as a spokeswoman for the American Chiropractic Association, stated, “In the last year or so, I’ve been seeing the same kinds of issues with adult women that I’m used to seeing with kids who carry heavy backpacks on one shoulder. They’re experiencing neck pain, not just while they’re carrying their purses, but all the time. A lot of women even get bad headaches.” She also reported, “Lately, when a patient comes in complaining of these symptoms, I walk over and pick up her purse. Without fail, it weighs a ton.”

Dr. Marta Callotta, a chiropractor in Long Beach, California, who was also interviewed for the article, said that she advises patients to clean out their purses once a week. She added, “At the end of the day, handbags are one of the biggest culprits for back pain right now. For a year patients have been coming in to me with these giant purses and complaints of soreness. This will keep happening until the trend dies down.”

Dr. Erickson, the chiropractor in Manhattan recommends that women who insist on carrying oversized or overweight bags should alternate the shoulders they carry the bag on. She also suggested that women may want to consider carrying the bag in the middle. However, she noted this suggestion may not be so popular. “It’s not exactly glamorous, but if at the end of a long day you find your shoulders aching, slip the bag off and carry it in front of your body with both arms like it’s an infant,”