Women seem to carry everything in their hand bags. Increasingly, women are toting around more gadgets such as iPods, cell phones, and digital cameras which has created a demand for larger handbags and totes. So, it comes as no surprise that more and more women are turning to their chiropractors for neck and back pain treatment.
Most children are required to tote heavy school bags to and from school each day, and the load increases as they reach higher grades. Sports clothing, equipment and a laptop often adds another bag to their load. One recent study found that the daily burden can lead to lower back pain, poor posture, spinal deformity over time and back problems in adulthood.
Back Care Tips
No matter what kind of bag you’re shopping for, the same general principles apply:
Choosing a bag
- Choose a bag made of lightweight material (vinyl or canvas, instead of leather).
- Look for bags with multiple pockets, rather than a single large compartment – this can help you to distribute the weight of the bag’s contents.
- Shoulder straps should be wide, adjustable and padded, if possible. Poorly designed shoulder straps can dig deep into the muscles and put strain on the nerves.
- For large bags, such as suitcases or laptop bags, select a model with wheels.
- For shoulder bags or backpacks, choose a bag that is proportionate to your body size and that is not larger than needed.
Packing a bag
- Plan to pack light – resist the urge to carry everything with you. Your bag should not weigh more than 10 to 15 per cent of your body weight.
- Pack the heaviest items at the bottom of the bag.
- Make efficient use of the pockets of your bag to evenly distribute the weight of the contents.
- If you can’t pack light, it’s best to pack items into several bags, rather than over-stuff a single bag.
Carrying a bag
- A good backpack is designed to evenly distribute weight, but it’s important to use both shoulder straps.
- A backpack should never be worn over one shoulder.
- For bags with a single shoulder strap, lift the strap over the head to rest it on the opposite side of the handbag or briefcase. This can help to distribute weight more evenly.
- Be sure to alternate shoulders frequently to avoid undue strain.
- For luggage or laptop bags, when ever possible, make use of wheels to pull, rather than carry, your load.
Injuries resulting from improper lifting and carrying of a heavy load can become chronic and can impact your quality of life.
If you experience back pain that lasts more than two or three days, you should contact us for an evaluation.
Photo Credits: Justin Grunau