There is an article in today's New York Times about city women suffering back and neck pain from lugging heavy handbags. Apparently, fashion bags are growing bigger and clunkier by the minute, causing weary fashionistas to scream for Epson salts, massages, and ibuprofen. "My neck, my back!" This is an epidemic of sorts, said one Upper East Side massage therapist. As chiropractors develop specially tailored treatments for the purse-induced shoulder afflictions, Bliss Spa recommends a $150 deep tissue massage to combat tote trauma.
On the other side of the world, Nepali porters carry head-supported loads weighing 100-200% of their body weight up and down the world's largest mountain ranges. East African women transport up to 70% of their body weight on their heads, and, miraculously, can carry head-loads up to 20% of their body weight without expending an ounce of additional energy.
Perhaps New York women should begin wearing loads on their heads, or at least switch to backpacks, which distribute weight more evenly across the body. But above all, women, stop being so weak! Support your spine, for heaven's sake. One of the best ways to support the back is by engaging abdominal, oblique, and lower back muscles every minute of everyday—sitting in a cubicle, walking down the street, washing dishes, playing poker, etc. Quit slouching and discover that balancing any load, placed anywhere on the body, becomes a lot easier.