While Americans spend approximately 13 thousand dollars on vacations per year, they splurge 150 billion dollars on back pain and injuries. While simple back pain injections can cost $600 a shot, more complicated procedures, like spinal fusion surgery, can total up to $75,000 in charges, not including rehabilitation fees and extended time off of work. Surprisingly, these expenses are not usually due to accidents. In fact, most back pains originate from minor aches caused by simple day-to-day habits like carrying a bag, but eventually extend to major back injuries that require medical attention. A few easy life changes can help you save your money to buy a new purse, play more rounds of gold, or take a vacation. Don’t let preventable pain steal from your wallet and your life. Check out a new bag here.
From early in human history, people have used bags as a means of carrying one’s belongings. Later on in life, bags are used as fashion symbols. Bags represent efficiency and individuality in our society. However, daily bag use can manifest wear and tear throughout our entire spine. Whether it’s a purse, backpack, or golf bag, carrying heavy items alters the body’s alignment and distorts the forces placed throughout the body. As a 6-year caddie at Olympia Fields Country Club and a former marching band snare drummer, I have experience carrying a heavy items for a long period of time. Here is how improper carrying causes pain and a few tips on how to fix it.
Posture: Many people already struggle with poor posture, but adding weight to an unaligned body leads to even more problems. Muscles can tighten and deviate from their proper position, causing imbalances throughout the body. Tight upper traps are a major problem due to carrying extra weight on the shoulders. Trapezius issues coupled with improper forward-head posture adds to more stress on the posterior neck muscles. Too much strain on these muscles can lead to spasms, stiffness, and even tension headaches, see Uber article Don’t Get ahead of yourself.
Gait: A problem that results from carrying a bag is that it interference with your stride. A bag carried on one side of the body alters the normal rotation of the spine during gait. This lack of rotation can lead to compensation of other body parts to do the work. This issue can travel down the body and cause unwarranted rotation at the hips, knees, and ankles. This rotation in the wrong place can lead to knee pain and flat feet.
Degeneration: Chronic carrying of heavy loads without any correction leads to serious problems, like Degenerative Disc Disease, stenosis, numbness, tingling, brachial plexus injuries, migraines, herniated discs, and a lack of cervical lordosis. Why does this even matter? These preventable injuries are the things that can make you spend 150 billion on back related pain.
-Wear the bag high and close to the body.
-Keep the load light and the bag small. The weight of the bag should be no more than 10 -15% of your bodyweight before it starts to significantly alter forces on the body.
-Switch sides or carry across the cross body when using bags with extended straps.
-Always wear 2 straps with golf bag or back pack.
-Use wide straps to help distribute the weight of the bag more evenly across the shoulders.
-Place heavy items at the bottom of the bag to keep the heaviest weight closest to the center of mass.
-Retract the shoulders; no forward head. Don’t text when carrying a heavy bag
-If carrying golf bag make it as light as possible and always wear 2 straps and place the hands on the straps the take the weight off the back.
Seek treatment: For more long term comprehensive in depth advice and treatment Contact me though my website stretching yoga PT for more serious problems
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* To learn how Physical Therapy can serve you, see GetPT1st , Greg Todd , Renewal Rehab Paul Gough Physio Rooms, Functional Patterns , Aaron LeBauer , Kelly Starrett, The Movement Fix, Anatomy Trains, The Prehab Guys, Modern Manual Therapy, Dr. Ben Fung , Andrews University Doctor of Physical Therapy
Edited: Ffrancesca Famorcan
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