A mixed bag of maladies
Your briefcase is professional. Your laptop bag is practical, your backpack’s cool and your diaper bag is handy. But they also could be the source of your pain.
Carrying the wrong type of bag or carrying a bag in the wrong way could land you in the doctor’s office, possibly for long term issues with your posture, back, shoulders or neck.
“It’s an unknown danger,” Ryan Curda of San Diego’s Life Within Chiropractic Center said regarding the potential health hazards of toting bags. “For many people, unless something is obviously hurting them at the time they are carrying it, it goes unnoticed. The problem will grow progressively worse and lead to problems, possibly even severe issues with your nerves or vertebrae.”
The key to avoiding injury, Curda said, is to understand how the bag distributes weight. Most people, for example, are shoulder dominant, meaning they will usually carry a bag michael kors outlet on the same shoulder rather than switching from side to side, he said.
“If you carried an eight pound bowling ball around all day with just one arm, you wouldn’t be shocked to learn it caused back or posture problems,” said Curda. “If you carry an eight pound han michael kors outlet dbag around all day, it will lead to the same problems. Well, most people carry that heavy bag around all day, every day on the same shoulder.”
For that reason, backpacks can offer a more practical solution.
“A backpack goes around both shoulders, balancing the load to both sides of your body,” he said. “And they have a strap that goes around your michael kors outlet waist to stabilize the load. This makes it easier on your muscles.”
Although more sensible, backpacks, too, can cause problems if they are packed too full or not carried properly.
“Too much weight on your upper back could cause headaches or nerve injuries,” said Lika Yandall, owner of La Jolla’s Physio Dynamics Posture Correction. “A lot of people get migraines because of it and have no idea that it’s because they have michael kors outlet too much weight settled on their vertebrae.”
Some people, however, reject backpacks because they’re not fashionable enough, and it’s certainly not chic to don a backpack with eveningwear or certain business attire.
If you feel the need to carry a shoulder bag, it is important to know your own strength; do not carry more than you can handle. The American Chiropractic Association, for example, advises that women should not lug around more than 10 percent of their body weight. And switch shoulders throughout the day, as Curda advised.
Rolling bags offer a quality alternative to backpacks and shoulder bags, noted Curda. And some designers now offer options that they claim are not only safe for the back but will actually improve posture over time. Part shoulder bag and part backpack, the dual side bags are fastened to the body with two shoulder straps and a waist strap. The designers claim that the perfectly balanced load improves posture by prompting the wearer to stand straight up.
Experts say that whatever the bag type, good posture is critical to warding off injury.
“Bad posture can lead to many problems,” said Yandall. “It is something many people need to address. Most people do not know how to do simple things for proper posture, like pushing their pelvis forward or how to use their buttocks. This is what causes injuries. You have to correct your postural alignment before you carry anything behind your back.”