How Your Back Wishes You'd Carry Your Bag
We all carry bags – not just women – so if you thought you were immune to this problem, think again. Whether it’s a purse, a backpack, a briefcase, laptop bag or a suitcase, we’ve all experienced the pain from lugging a heavy bag around. So, how can we avoid the pain? What are we to do when we have so much stuff to carry?
- Take a load off: Best case scenario is, don’t ever carry a heavy bag. Unfortunately, that’s just not a realistic expectation. Carrying a heavy bag every day can really take a toll on your neck and spine, so make sure that you’re only carrying what you have to. Encourage your kids to only bring home school books that they absolutely need. Regularly clean out your purse or briefcase so you’re only carrying the necessities. If possible, switch to rolling bags to completely remove the pressure from your back.
- Only carry 15 percent of your bodyweight (at most). Even better, if you can stick to 10 percent, do that. Especially when dealing with daily bag toting, any more than 10 to 15 percent has been shown to throw your posture out of whack and may even cause scoliosis. Think of those heavy bags the kids have to drag to and from school every day and then think about their soft, still-growing spines. Not a pretty picture in the long run. So again, limit the load.
- Place heavier objects at the bottom: If you must carry heavy items, put them at the bottom of the bag. This will help maintain your center of gravity and relieve pressure especially on your neck. Redistribute the rest of the weight evenly throughout the bag and you will find the bag feels lighter and easier to carry.
- Use two straps: If your bag has two straps, like a backpack, use them – they’re there for a reason. Using both straps will distribute the weight more evenly across your back and allow your spine to stay in alignment. Habitually carrying a bag over only one shoulder can curve the spine, misplace the hips and pinch nerves.
- Keep weight close to the body: the further away from your body the weight gets, the more the pack will sway and the more stress the weight will put on your spine and spinal muscles. This can easily lead to injury. Talk to your chiropractor about a recommended ergonomic bag that will help you carry your load.
- Strengthen Your Core: Our body is built to be able to carry some weight. Strengthening your abdominal and back muscles will support your spine and make carrying even heavy loads easier with less risk of injury. These strong muscles will keep your posture intact and your spine healthy.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.