Sometimes it can literally feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world. Whether you’re going about town with a handbag, briefcase or luggage, improper carrying or packing habits can eventually “weigh” down your health.
Heavy bags that are unevenly distributed throughout wear imposes serious stress on the spine, leading to chronic back, neck, and arm pain, muscle strains, headaches and nerve damage.
We’ve gathered up some of the best tips when it comes to preventing strain and injury with everyday wear of handbags, briefcases and luggage:
The Main Rules
• Opt for a lightweight materials like canvas or vinyl
• Go for bags that feature many individual pockets rather than just one large compartment; make use of all compartments and pack heaviest items at the bottom to evenly distribute the load
• When it comes to large bags, wheels are ideal
• Try for wide, padded and adjustable straps as they will offer support
• Aim to reorganize your purse regularly; keep paring down items to essentials
Heavy handbags not only place stress on the back, neck and shoulders, but can also foster poor posture by causing “leaning” to one side, impairing the carrier’s balance and mobility.
• Ensure your handbag does not weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of your body weight
• A handbag featuring a strap long enough to place over your head and rest on the opposite side of the body is ideal because it helps distribute weight more evenly
• Aim to clean out and reorganize your purse once a week; keep paring down items to essentials
• Change the size and weight of your wallet every so often
• Use both hands to check the weight of the handbag
• Try to switch the shoulder you carry your handbag on instead of using the same shoulder
• Resist the urge to lift the shoulder the strap is on to prevent slipping and square your shoulders
Brief Cases and Laptops
Similar to handbags, toting around briefcases or laptops can lead to poor posture as a heavy load or improper carrying can prompt leaning to one side.
• Backpack-specific laptop bags featuring wide, padded and adjustable straps are ideal because they distribute the weight evenly
• If you must go for a single shoulder bag, the strap should be long, wide, adjustable and padded
• Consider purchasing a second set of accessories (spare battery, A/C Adaptor Cord) for the office so you are not adding to the weight of the laptop
• For backpack-style bags, stabilize your balance by using both shoulder and the waist straps
• For single shoulder bags, place the strap over the head to rest on the opposite side of the bag. B sure to switch shoulders frequently
As difficult as it may be, resist the urge to fit in everything you possibly can into your suitcase. Over-packed luggage as well as poor lifting and carrying pose the risk of injury and strain the neck, back and shoulders.
• Select luggage that is sturdy yet lightweight, high-quality and transportable
• Luggage pieces that feature wheels and a handle are ideal in lightening the load
• If possible, try to distribute packing across a few small bags instead of one large piece
• Make sure your luggage carry on does exceed 10 to 15 percent of your body weight
• Move slowly when lifting luggage and try to break it down into smaller actions
• With lifting: get close to the load and stand feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the knees with your muscles doing the lifting, and hold load close to your body
• Don’t twist when lifting; turn your feet and entire body in the destination direction
• Always try to check heavier items when travelling
• Switch sides as often as possible when travelling with duffle and shoulder bags
Chiropractic Can Help
Chiropractic care can help immensely with the chronic injuries and strains brought on by improper carrying and packing of heavy loads.
While the everyday wear-and-tear is merely a minor discomfort initially, this stress builds up overtime and greatly compromises the natural alignment of your spine. Distortions in the spine cause misalignments, which can adversely affect the nervous system. In turn, poor nervous system function impacts all other systems in your body, greatly impairing health.
Specific chiropractic adjustments can help improve spinal function. By restoring the way your spine works, discs and soft tissues may heal, nerve involvement may be reduced, pain can ease and better stability can return. The adjustments reduce and correct the misalignments in your spine, allowing your spine to return to optimum function and restoring health to the nervous system. The end result is less pain and improved overall health!
Ontario Chiropractic Association. Pack it Light. Wear it Right: Handbags [Brochure]. Toronto, ON: Ontario Chiropractic Association.
Ontario Chiropractic Association. Pack it Light. Wear it Right: Laptops and Briefcases [Brochure]. Toronto, ON: Ontario Chiropractic Association.
Ontario Chiropractic Association. Pack it Light. Wear it Right: Travel [Brochure]. Toronto, ON: Ontario Chiropractic Association.