As women, we suffer a whole host of things in the name of fashion and beauty - painful high heels, even more painful waxes, and of course, the dreaded Spanx.
But according to new research, the one thing that may actually be harming your health more than anything else is something you might not have suspected - your handbag.
Aspinal of London undertook a survey of 1,000 UK women, and found that unbeknownst to us, we're all lugging round a huge amount of weight every day, via our handbag.
The average handbag apparently weighs 3.04kg - the equivalent of three pretty hefty bags of sugar.
And according to the research, carrying around that much on our shoulders every day is causing a whopping 63% of women to experience regular back pain.
Findings also showed that most women have no idea how much handbag weight they are carrying, underestimating the weight of theirs by around 323g on average.
Doug Jones, physiotherapist at the Manchester Institute of Health & Performance, operated by HCA Healthcare UK, explained that carrying a bag that's too heavy can have some lifelong effects on our health.
He said, “The long-term implications of carrying a heavy bag on a regular basis include: neck and upper back pain, shoulder impingement and stretching of the nerves down the neck and arm, which can cause inflammation of the nerve roots.
"Carrying a heavy handbag or gym bag on one arm can also lead to muscular spasms and tightness, leading to tension and pain in the arm and shoulders.
"If you think about it, the average human head weighs 2kg, and your shoulders are already carrying that weight, therefore, any additional weight causes extra strain.”
Research revealed that on average women carry 17 items with them on a daily basis - with one in six bringing a hefty laptop and charger with them every day.
One in 10 women also carry an additional gym bag with them two or three days a week, adding more weight on top of their already heavy handbags.
You can rarely afford to leave your handbag at home all day, so how can you conter the problems caused by yours?
According to experts, switching to a backpack, to spread weight more evenly, can help with targeted pain, as can switching over the arm/shoulder you hold your bag on.
A daily stretch after a long day can also be hugely beneficial - as can simply reducing the number of items in your bag to make it much more managable to carry.
Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.
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