Summer is here, and many families will be taking vacations. To avoid back, neck and shoulder problems that often occur when carrying luggage, here are a few tips to keep your trip pain free.

1. Luggage does not have to be heavy to hurt you. Lightweight bags can cause injury if lifted incorrectly. It is not what you lift, but how you lift it. Bend your knees, keep your back straight, keep your head up, and stay close to the bag.

2. Place one foot on the bumper of your car when loading or unloading baggage in the trunk. This allows you to keep the load closer to your body, and not at arms reach. Spinal pressure is reduced and you will not be bent forward with your legs straight.

3. Use baggage with wheels and retractable handles. If your current luggage does not have these items, purchase a portable dolly, rent a luggage cart, or tip a baggage handler. All of the above are cheaper than your doctor.

4. Bags with shoulder straps should be worn with the strap across the body to distribute weight from one shoulder to the opposite hip. Wearing the strap on the same side the bag hangs, causes the shoulder and neck regions on that side to bear the complete weight of the bag.

5. Fanny packs and similar items worn around the waist are ergonomically more sound than most purses. The weight is distributed centrally and not off to one side as with most shoulder or hand bags. Your hands are also free for carrying other luggage.

6. Backpacks should be worn with both straps in place and not over one shoulder. Again this is for even distribution of weight.

7. If you have two bags, carry one in each hand for balance.

8. When standing in line with your luggage, do not inch your bags forward by pushing or kicking them with your feet. This may cause injury to your pelvic joints.

9. Pack wisely; take what you need and no more.


Please consult your doctor of Chiropractic if you have further questions.

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