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Is the messenger bag or man bag straining your back?

These days the man bag is the ultimate symbol of a modern metrosexual and often seen sported by high profile men like David Beckham and Brad Pitt. It may, however be a quick way to land yourself some back pain and bad posture………..

As far back as 2011, the British Chiropractic Association identified the rise of the man bag and the possible consequences for men’s backs and posture. A recent survey carried out showed that about 60 % of men were carrying some sort of man bag.

The trouble is, that a bag full of the average contents: Smartphone, laptop or tablet, glasses, a bottle of water and a book/magazine can make the bag very heavy; weighing as much as 6kg – the equivalent of over 12 bags of sugar!!!!

Whether it is a traditional over-the-shoulder laptop case or messenger bag; that amount of weight on one shoulder, for an extended duration, from a commute to and from work will start to cause discomfort in the majority of people.

When carrying a bag, the head and neck naturally leans in the opposite direction to help offset the weight. The shoulder carrying the bag is elevated and rotated and the spine is made to curve toward the shoulder. This creates tension on the side of the neck and upper back with the load and compression of the joints on the other side. The end result may be back and shoulder pain from the prolonged stress and over time it will often impact posture.

Advice for men carrying bags:-

  1. Alternate between both shoulders if you carry an over-the-shoulder style bag so the weight and pressure is distributed equally between them. It is also advisable to keep the strap as short as possible.
  2. A rucksack design laptop case is best if you carry a laptop. Carry it on both shoulders and adjust the straps so that the bag is held close to your back.
  3. Avoid long periods of being in one position, move around regularly and stretch and exercise your back muscles regularly.
  4. Ensure you take regular breaks to avoid tiring yourself out too soon, as fatigued muscles don’t support and hold the spine correctly.
  5. Keep it as light as possible and only pack what you need.

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