Bag’s – we use them day to day, we use them when we travel. Our kids carry them every day to school. But the wrong bag, or carrying a bag the wrong way can have dire consequences.
Lets start with kids. Kids injuries are very different to adults and require a specific knowledge – all the physios at Physiologix have a special interest in kids/adolescent injuries. On attending the annual Tennis Australia Medical Conference last year, one of the most important times to ensure kids are doing the right thing is during growth spurts: this is a time they can be much more predisposed to injury. A recent literature review by the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has some frightening figures resulting from bad school bag selection: 70% of Australian school children are potentially suffering from school bag related pain.
But also worryingly, 65.7% also reported fatigue as a result of poorly fitting bags. This can impact on a child’s ability to engage in learning and partake in sport. Muscle strains, neck, back and shoulder joint pain can go on to last into adulthood. The long term psychological impact can also be an issue. Getting the right bag for kids really can be extremely important. As a brief guide you are looking for a lightweight backpack, with adjustable waist belt and shoulder straps and now a days, a built in internal laptop pocket is essential. Check out physiopak.com which is the APA endorsed school back pack.
For the rest of us, you need to assess exactly what you want your bag for. For daily use, a back pack that goes over both shoulders is best to distribute force. Pack the heavier things in against your spine in the centre of the bag. If a back pack is not what you want then wear a bag across your body so it goes over one shoulder and sits on the opposite hip.
When travelling, think about the maximum weight you can lift, not necessarily the maximum you are allowed to carry. If you have injuries, it may be worth pre organizing help at the airport/rail/bus station with your luggage – phone and see if such a service is available. Always use two hands to lift when you have to. If possible always put luggage on a trolley and push it – pushing is much better on the body than pulling. And please be careful of overhead lockers – many of us don’t often lift heavy luggage overhead so our shoulder tendons are not used to it. Keep the weight down or ask for assistance: be slow and take your time, rushing means the muscles have to contract faster which can further exacerbate risk of injury.
Put some thought into what you and your family carry. Should anything happen, get into the physios fast and nip it in the bud. A long term issue is the last thing you want developing. For any advice, at any time, our staff are always more than happy to help.