Backpain is Purse-onal – Here’s how to fix it

I’m the girl who loves to get a new purse every season. Every year. In every colour. I  have different purses for different purposes….. A bucket bag for work. A cross-body for quick trips to the market. A clutch for date night.

I love them big. I love them small. But lately, they haven’t been loving me back.

It started with a slight twinge in my neck. Then I started noticing pain through my shoulder and a pulling sensation in my back. Soon, one entire side felt tense. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to realize that sometimes, love bites.


It’s not always immediately obvious that your back pain can be associated with your purse. According to Dr. Chhatre, director of spine rehabilitation at John Hopkins, symptoms can appear within hours of carrying the bag or accumulate over time.

Speaking from my own experience, I recognized that my purse may be the culprit of my pain pretty quickly because it was on the same side that I carry it.

So my solution? I switched to the other side! When that didn’t help, I started using small purses.

Because smaller is better, right? Not so much….


It’s not about the size, it’s about the weight, says Chhatre. The more we overfill the bag – regardless of it’s size – the heavier it gets and the more pressure it puts on our bodies.

Chhatre makes some great suggestions, like carrying your bag in different ways, cleaning out some of the junk you don’t need or carrying two bags (let’s stop putting laptops in our totes!). Most importantly, don’t ignore the signs that you might be damaging you back.


Now, why it might seem like carrying a purse should not be high on my priority list, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the opposite has become true. These days, I like variety and change my pouch almost daily.

Here are some of my new favourite purse options.

The Backpack Purse

Backpacks are probably your best bet if you have a history of back pain. The straps evenly distribute weight and keeps your back in it’s proper posture. Zara has a fantastic selection of backpacks this season. It’s hard not to find one to love!



Handbag Purses

My personal favourite is the handbag for it’s versatility. Handheld (so long as they’re not too heavy!) takes some pressure off your shoulder and most come with a crossbody strap if you need to be hands-free. I’m loving the Love and Lore selection at Indigo, with lots of colour and style options to choose from.



Wristlet Purses

When I think of all the things I carry around with me, the reality is that I don’t need all that with me at all times. For a quick run to the store, I now just grab my wristlet and go. Mine has a pocket for my iPhone and I love how light and unencumbered I feel. It’s the perfect size for carrying on it’s own or throwing in a bag when I have to go to work. Nordstrom has so, so many to choose from!



Have you had to change your purse-carrying habits? If so, what changes did you make? Tell us about them in the comments below!


My new obsession is this Michael Kors Mercer Smartphone crossbody. It’s been life-changing! It’s big enough to hold, all my cards, cash, receipts, an iPhone Plus (in a case) plus lip balm and mints but small enough to use as a wallet and throw into a larger purse. I added a wrist strap to make it easier to carry.



3 thoughts on “Backpain is Purse-onal – Here’s how to fix it

  1. This is such a true issue that us ladies usually ignore for the sake of fashion. Comfort becomes more important as we get older. I have actually chose not to buy a gorgeous designer bag because it was heavy and the metal strap seemed painfull. I love backpacks for casual days too!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more!! I find I’m not interested in big, bulky bags anymore because it’s just not worth it.

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