The Worst of the Purse
The handbag is perhaps the most beloved fashion accessory – well, next to shoes, of course.
Whether you prefer an expensive designer bag, a good knock, or something you crocheted out of hemp, almost every woman carries a purse almost everywhere.
These days, men are no longer excluded from the exquisite privilege of the handbag, nor are they relegated only to the briefcase. Small electronics have broadened men’s carrying options considerably. Now, even the manliest man might be seen carrying a man-bag in which he keeps his tablet, along with other man items.
Unlike many fashion items, the purse is utilitarian. It holds our keys, our glasses, our money, our phone and our hygiene essentials. Without it, how would we carry our stuff?
I have a sad purse story. For more than a decade, I have had a lot of pain in my left shoulder. I’ve no loss of motion or weakness, just pain. I’ve visited doctors and massage therapists, but no one could tell me what was causing the pain, or how to get rid of it.
Recently I moved my home to within walking distance of my office. I thought walking to work would make me healthier. What happened was that my shoulder began to hurt so much it would wake me up at night.
Finally, a friend made a suggestion. He has seen o a doctor’s report that said many women suffer injury from their shoulder bag. Like most women, I have carried a shoulder bag almost every day since I was twelve.
But, I always carry my bag on my right shoulder, and my left shoulder is the one that hurts. That didn’t make any sense to me.
As it turns out, that is exactly how it works. When I carry my bag on my right shoulder, my left shoulder works to compensate for the weight.
When I started walking to work, I spent more time with the bag on my shoulder, increasing the injury.
Now, when I walk behind someone with a shoulder bag, I notice their posture. Whether it is a young girl with a book bag or a broad-shouldered hunk with a murse, I see the shoulder carrying the bag is raised, and the opposite shoulder is lowered.
“That’s going to hurt you one day,” I want to say to them, but I don’t.
I had feared I would spend thousands of dollars for surgery or physical therapy to cure my increasingly bum shoulder. So far, my minor efforts have already made a huge difference, without even one visit to the doctor.
First, I removed the five pounds of change from the bottom of my purse. Then, I made an effort to keep my purse shoulder lowered. I had noticed that my body seemed permanently crooked, with the left shoulder always lower than the right. Efforts to keep the left shoulder raised were futile, but focusing on lowering the right seems to have worked.
I am alternating shoulders when I carry my purse, and trying to carry it less often.
While I don’t want to go back to the horrid 1980’s fanny pack, I wish we had more options for pain-free purses.
My final plan is to have a whole wardrobe of small cross-body bags, cute backpacks, handbags and clutches. I figure the more purses I have, the less strain there will be on any one part of my body. As with most fashion problems, the answer can be found by shopping.