Carrying handbags and luggage correctly can relieve and prevent neck, shoulder and back pain


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That pain in your neck that you feel? It could be caused by your purse. The back pain that puts you on the sidelines? Also potentially caused by your purse or by luggage or other heavy items that you carry on a daily basis.

As we travel and prepare to celebrate this holiday season, the risk of pain and injury from lifting or carrying things inappropriately increases. It’s enough to make the “most wonderful time of the year”, well, not so great.

According to Dr. Karyn Staples, physiotherapist and owner of ProHealth Physical Therapy and Pilates Studio in Peachtree City, knowing the best way to handle your bags can go a long way in preventing pain and even injury, not only while on vacation, but also throughout the world. ‘year. .

One of the best things we can do, if possible, is lighten the load.

“It’s a cumulative process,” Karyn says. “Carrying a heavy bag once may not have long term effects, but over time your body adapts to certain loads, and that can start to cause a change in alignment.”

Living in an area where so many people travel for a living, ProHealth offers physiotherapy and Pilates programs to many pilots, flight attendants and other professionals associated with the airline industry through physiotherapy and training. Pilates. According to Dr. Staples, up to one in five customers who come to ProHealth need relief from shoulder, neck or back pain that can be associated with improperly carrying purses or luggage. Lower back pain, according to Dr. Staples, is their most common complaint.

Dr. Staples offers several suggestions for relieving and preventing the pain associated with the bags you carry.

Lighten the load

Dr. Karyn Staples prefers a shoulder bag to distribute weight evenly and maintain proper body alignment.

The pain associated with carrying a heavy handbag is so common that a Canadian chiropractor gave it a name: heavy handbag syndrome. Karyn agrees, “that’s one thing,” and says the maximum your purse should weigh is eight pounds.

When the purse you’re carrying weighs over eight pounds, it’s time to get rid of whatever you’re carrying that you don’t need today. The ounces of the coins in your wallet add up to a pound faster than you might think.

As with your purse, the best way to manage the weight of your luggage is to travel light. Ask yourself “do I really need this” before he leaves in the suitcase. Is it essential for this trip? Otherwise, leave it behind.

Once at the airport, Karyn recommends that you take advantage of the baggage carts and check in your bag when possible. Not only does this alleviate much of the weight stress of carrying bags through the airport, it can also prevent falls and other incidents along the way. Tripping over your own luggage is also one thing, confirms Karyn.

“People are generally anxious about traveling and are distracted by where their items are,” says Karyn. “Check your bag if you can to avoid having another item to look out for. If that’s not an option, then pack light.

Choose and transport your bags wisely

Making sure your shoulder bag isn’t too heavy helps keep the body in proper alignment, says Dr. Karyn Staples.

Are there good and bad ways to carry your bags? Yes, said Karyn.

“The right allows the body to stay aligned. Wrong brings the body out of good symmetrical alignment.

When it comes to your purse, the type of bag you wear and the way you position it on the body is important. Karyn prefers a handbag with a shoulder strap, which allows for a more even distribution of weight over the body and naturally balances the load. Particularly if you experience pain in the neck area, it may help to lighten the load on the purse and try a shoulder strap.

However, a shoulder bag or tote will work as long as the strap and your body are properly aligned. If you have to carry a handbag all day, she recommends a book-sized handbag.

When you’re carrying a handbag all day, it’s best to pick one that is the size of a book, says Dr. Karyn Staples.

For luggage, Karyn prefers four-wheeled trolley bags because you can keep them upright and by your side rather than rolling them behind, which puts extra strain on your shoulders and back.

The height and position of the handle are also important. The right way to carry your luggage is with the arm at the side and the handle of the bag adapted to your height.

“Having to lean to the side because the handle is too short or carrying a heavy bag to one side can lead to alignment issues,” she says.

Store your hand luggage safely

When it’s time to put your carry-on in the overhead compartment, Karyn offers best practices for this activity as well.

Start by keeping your pack close to your body and place one foot in front of the other. As you go forward, shift the weight towards the front foot while lifting the bag up to the upper compartment. When you collect your carry-on baggage, shift your weight towards the back foot while bringing the bag closer to your body.

Make sure to keep your pelvis, rib cage, and shoulders stacked on top of each other so that the weight shift is either forward or backward.

The way you breathe when you lift is also important. When you lift something, breathe out. When you bring it back to your body, inhale.

If you suffer from neck, shoulder or back pain, the team at ProHealth Physical Therapy and Pilates Studio is ready to help. For an appointment for physical therapy, call 770-487-1931.

If Pilates exercise is something you would like to explore, private lessons and classes are available throughout the week at ProHealth. Call or visit https://prohealthga.com/schedule.

About ProHealth Physiotherapy and Pilates Studio

ProHealth Physical Therapy and Pilates Studio was founded in 2005 by Dr. Karyn Staples, PT, PhD, NCPT. She leads a team of over a dozen physiotherapists, Pilates teachers and administrative support staff to provide effective research-based therapy and exercise.

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