The Correct Way to Carry a Bag to Avoid Back Pain

Most people don’t give a second thought to how they carry a bag until the day comes when their back starts to ache. Suddenly every movement is scrutinised in order to identify what might have caused this catastophe to happen. Most people will link their back pain to an activity they have performed just prior to the onset of pain. Oftentimes, patients will tell me that they developed back pain after lifting a bag or standing up form a chair. Clearly, these activiteis are normal & in someone with good spinal function & strength this should not happen. In our modern world where people are inactive for long periods of time while slouching over desks this creates spines that are dysfunctional and unable to bend, lift or carry out normal daily functions without developing pain.
Physio Naas - carrying bag

The evidence shows that most injuries tend to develop from years of poor habits, such as carrying bags inappropriately. It is the cumulative, long-term effects of poor posture that give rise to back pain as opposed to one-off events.

Carrying a bag the wrong way can have a negative impact on spinal posture & predispose to back pain. For example, if you carry a laptop bag with the strap over one shoulder this will cause you to raise your shoulder and, as a consequence, your spine will tend to deviate to one side. Also, your shoulder will tend to roll forward to stop the strap slipping off your shoulder. Carrying a handbag along the elbow crease is another common mistake that will alter shoulder & spine posture. If you observe somebody holding a bag in this position there will be very high odds that the shoulders will be rounded out in front of the body. This posture can act to increase the risk of back pain.

Avoiding these common errors is relatively straightforward. The key to carrying a bag is to use the bags as they were intended. As an example when carrying a laptop case then the strap shoud be carried on the opposite shoulder to maintain shoulder balance and sustain a straight spine. It is called a cross-body bag for a reason after all! When carrying your purse it is best to hold it by the handle with the arm straight as opposed to hanging it on the elbow where it will tend to slide down the arm & encourage spinal stress.