When I was growing up, my grandmother had a huge, heavy handbag. The reason I know this is because I was the designated shlepper of that handbag. Since that time, handbags have become purses and have gone through many size changes. We have seen the tiny purses; the medium purses, the backpack purses and we are now all lugging around the huge, heavy purses or handbags (which are really shoulder bags!) again. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Designers are combining purses with computer bags, which can weigh up to ten pounds. As a result, doctors have been diagnosing women with shoulder strain because they are schlepping these bags. This can cause permanent shoulder damage and chronic pain. If women can keep their posture aligned while carrying their heavy bags, they have fewer problems. Those that do have shoulder pain may find relief with the use of anti-inflammatory medication, massage and physical therapy.

Now that children are back to school, they will be carrying very heavy backpacks. In the interest of looking cool, many will be throwing them over their shoulder. This can cause injury. It is important that you instruct them to wear them properly. The backpacks are to be worn with two padded shoulder straps or pulled on rollers.

As for you, if you are a busy woman who keeps her closet, computer, and spare shoes in her purse, the best way to prevent this problem is to change things up. Keep your purse light and change the weight and size of the purse frequently. Be sensible and prevent “shlepper shoulder” today!