Do shoulder bags/purses cause potential shoulder issues?

Carrying a heavy shoulder bag or purse can cause an uneven weight distribution, straining back muscles and blood flow to the shoulder, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association  (AOTA).

Yet, shoulders are are not the only parts of the body affected by the heavy load of a shoulder bag or purse, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). The larger and the heavier the bag, or luggage, the greater the risk of injury to the back, shoulder blades, and neck, the AAOS states.

The AAOS recommends the following precautions for carrying heavy luggage or bags:

  • Do not carry bulky luggage or bags for long periods of time
  • Do not rush when lifting or carrying
  • Look for a sturdy, light, high-quality, and transportable bags
  • Pack lightly
  • When using a backpack, make sure it has two padded and adjustable shoulder straps to equally balance the weight
  • When using a duffel or shoulder bag, do not carry it on one shoulder for any length of time; be sure to switch sides often

Ask your doctor about shoulder bags/purses and shoulder pain.

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