Check Your Baggage: Preventing Lifestyle Stress on Our Body
When carried on the same side, day after day – for many years, bags have an effect on posture and the muscular system; thus having an effect on your overall health.
Women tend to wear their purse on the same shoulder, men carry their message bags slung on the same side and kids tend to have their backpack over one shoulder. Over time, this will cause muscles to become overdeveloped on the weight-bearing side. This results in unlevel shoulders, which if left over a period of time leads to structural compensation with head and pelvic tilt.
Lower back muscles on the side opposite will become overdeveloped to compensate for the tight, weight-bearing muscle. Eventually, when these problems are left untreated for a period of time, these adaptations will also result in scoliosis. A scoliosis is a curvature in the spine to the side, where it should be straight up and down.
The best way to wear a purse is to keep alternating which shoulder bears the weight – this will ensure the stress is distributed evenly on both sides. The same goes for the messenger bag – sling it across the body, alternating sides. And children should utilize both straps of their backpack, which should be tight against their back.
To check yourself for damage caused by improper bag use, look at yourself in the mirror. Is one shoulder lower than the other? Is your head tilted to compensate? Is one hip higher than the other? Does your clothing always slide off one shoulder? Have a friend or family member feel your spine – do all the bumps line up, or do some deviate to the side?
If you notice any of these problems, you may have caused a scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) to occur. This will require the help of a trained chiropractor and lifestyle modifications in order to correct. As with all health problems, the sooner you start to correct them, the easier and faster the results will be.