Is Your Bag Injuring You?

Is the weight of your handbag bad for your spine or are you just carrying it incorrectly?

You have probably been told that a heavy bag can affect your gait, and that you should never carry a handbag in the crook of your arm. But is this advice correct?

Many people stuff their bags with keys, a phone, sunglasses, water bottle, umbrella and various other items. Add your gym clothes and towel and that can easily make your bag weigh over 4kg. But according to experts, it’s not the weight of the bag that can be problematic, but the way and how often you carry it.

How your bag can injure you

When you carry a bag on one shoulder, you have to lean to the other side or lift your shoulder to prevent it from falling off. The longer you have your bag over your shoulder, the longer you spend with your spine in a curved position. This misalignment can lead to joint strain and pain in the neck, shoulders and back. It can also worsen conditions like herniated disks and may even lead to scoliosis in children. Regularly carrying your bag on one side can also affect the way you walk. If you do use a shoulder bag, try switching sides periodically to even out the load.

To prevent complications from carrying a shoulder bag, opt for a backpack instead. This is the best option ergonomically. A cross-body bag is also a better option than a shoulder bag, but it can still put strain on the neck.

Prevent bag-related injuries

Regardless of the type of bag you use, having a strong trunk/core will help improve your posture and prevent alignment issues. Add core exercises to your routine such as abdominal curls,  planks, oblique exercises and back exercises. Core strength will help counter the negative effects of regularly carrying a shoulder bag.

If you have a new or pre-existing condition or injury, please book online to see a Sports Focus physiotherapist today.