The curse of the man bag – back and shoulder problems

Travelling employerIf you look around your morning commute you will see quite a few man bags around. While most of them are not focused on being as stylish as a woman’s handbag, they are just as functional and necessary as their female counterparts.

Men are just as likely to have a bag to transport their smartphones, tablets, laptops, glasses and digital cameras as women are. Men tend to use over the shoulder laptop bags, messenger bags or satchels. And this is where the problem lies.

While we are technologically savvy with our many devices, they start to weigh us down when we carry them around. An average laptop weighs 3kgs while tablets can weigh anywhere up to 1kg. Add this to your phone, iPod, lunch and possibly gym kit and you are looking at almost 6kgs of weight in one bag, usually supported on one shoulder.

The experts have noticed the growing trend. ‘Man Bags are now a necessity for many men during their daily lives, but they could cause back and shoulder pain from prolonged stress, which can impact posture. The bags serve a purpose so we need to become more savvy in how we use them, whilst leaning to read our bodies and know when we’re placing too much pressure on certain points.’ says Tim Hutchfield from the British Chiropractic Association.

Some advice the BCA gives is:

  • If you carry an over-the-shoulder style bag, alternate between both shoulders so the weight and pressure is distributed equally between them. It is also advisable to keep the strap as short as possible
  • If you carry a laptop use a rucksack designed laptop case, carry it on both shoulders and adjust the straps so that the bag is held close to your back
  • Stand comfortably when carrying your bag. Avoid long periods of being in one position, move around regularly and stretch and exercise your back muscles regularly
  • Ensure you take regular breaks so that you don’t tire yourself out too soon from fatigue
  • Don’t carry so many items in your bag all the time, only pack what you need
  • The simple most important piece of advice is to take a break from carrying your bag and not to carry it from prolonged periods of time.

Are you having problems with your back or shoulders? One of our chiropractors would be happy to discuss treatment options with you. Contact us today.