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Carol Eustice

Big Purses: Convenience May Cause Future Pain

By January 22, 2007

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Big purses are trendy and convenient but there is a down side. Once you've packed them up with everything you need - cell phone, wallet, water bottles and more - it's a load on your neck, shoulders and back. Doctors from Baylor Medical Center report that patients commonly complain of back, neck, and shoulder pain without even realizing the cause may be slung over their shoulder. One Baylor doctor, when hearing the frequent complaint, takes a look at the patient's purse and takes it to the scale to weigh it! According to the doctor, it's not uncommon for the big purse to weigh from 7 to 10 pounds.

The strain of carrying a big, heavy purse on one side of your body may cause future health concerns since it causes an imbalance when you stand or walk. The neck is strained as are nerves which exit the neck and continue down the shoulder. It may even lead to arthritis. Experts suggest that the solution is simple and necessary - downsize. Start by downsizing your wallet. Carry only the credit cards and cash you need and take the accumulation of heavy coins out of your purse. Leave oversized makeup bags and extra keys at home, as well as any other heavy items which are not essential.

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Photo by Don Wilke (iStockphoto)

January 22, 2007 at 11:33 pm
(1) Beck says:

My purse weighed in at 3lbs. I am very conciuos of the weight of my purse before I even buy it. It must have outer side pockets (for cell phone and receipts) and be big enough for a paperback book. If I need more I grab a small tote bag for the other arm. Even it all out. I figured all this out a long time ago.

January 23, 2007 at 12:39 am
(2) Hope says:

I used to carry a very heavy purse but now daily I empty out even the change and have gotten down to a consistant 3 pounds.

January 23, 2007 at 11:29 am
(3) atulli says:

Camera equiptment is doing a number on me. I got a waist pack that is helping some. I usually have a camera in my purse. dont own a scale.

January 23, 2007 at 1:23 pm
(4) Jeri says:

My rheumatologist ALWAYS fusses about my heavy purse!! I’ve started carrying less junk, and it’s been much easier on me. Of course, my purse is still too heavy, but it’s all essential stuff.

Something that really hurts MEN is to carry their wallet in their back pocket. Sitting on a wallet throws your back off-kilter, and it causes all kinds of problems. My husband’s chiropractor told him that, and he’s noticed that it’s true. He hurts all over when he carries his wallet in his back pocket.

If we could figure out a more convenient way to carry our stuff, we’d all be better off physically.

January 23, 2007 at 3:46 pm
(5) Carol says:

My big purse weighed in at 9 lbs. I knew it was too heavy but now I’m convinced. I started to consider today if I’m carrying too much and including non-essential items. The answer is YES. One water bottle is more than a pound by itself!

January 23, 2007 at 4:10 pm
(6) Nicki Hickman says:

I don’t have scale…but I have reduced my quanity….one camera 3.5 ounces….one comb 1/2 oz…medical information with insurance cards 2 ozs…wallet that is about 2 oz…no checkbook..just bank cards…legal papers for loved one about three ounces…one cell phone unless pants have pocket then it is in pockets..one pen and note pad….pocket calendar….purse empty might weigh 7 ozs…just got it… so i may fall under 5 lbs…get a chance will way it..but havent’t used it yet..but this is interesting…some purses are lethal weapons…

January 23, 2007 at 5:40 pm
(7) Karen says:

I stopped carrying a large purse years ago because of my shoulders. In my case its my shoulder surgeon who fusses at me. He checks out the weight of my purse at every visit.
One thing I have discovered is that what is considered “essential” multiplies to fill whatever size purse I have..whether it is large or small

January 25, 2007 at 8:39 pm
(8) Louise says:

When I had to start using a cane a purse became a big problem. Besides the weight on my shoulder it was always falling off and a regular bag left me with no free hand. I finally reduced everything to a coinpurse, cell phone, and keys. I haven’t found anything that I really miss having. I now only buy pants with pockets and if I just have to carry a purse I have a very small one with a very long strap that fits over my head. Now I always have a free hand and I don’t feel so defenseless.

March 7, 2007 at 12:41 pm
(9) Nicki says:

Well, finally got to weigh my purse…I was surprised to say the least…With everything I have in it it weighed in 2.8 lbs..Now when I put my digital camera and case it comes to 3.3 pounds…So I feel like I am doing good in this category…just guess I know what I can live without in mu purse…

April 30, 2012 at 8:35 pm
(10) Stephanie says:

Hi I always carry my purse on my shoulder bt iam VERY.concerned that iam now feelin slight pain In my underarm I.touchd my underarm (arm pit) nd fealt a slight ball I pray.to.god this goes away iam very scared :(

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