In the bustle of packing for vacation or for a business trip, you can get easily carried away and pack everything but the kitchen sink into your suitcase and carry-on. But, over-packed luggage and improper lifting and carrying techniques are common causes of injury to your back, neck and shoulders.
Many of these injuries can be avoided with a little pre-planning.
Choosing Your Luggage:
When shopping for new luggage, look for something sturdy, lightweight and high-quality. If it’s too heavy to lift when it’s empty, don’t buy it! Choose one that rolls easily and where you’re not straining to push or pull it.
A good quality backpack is excellent as a carry-on because when worn properly they can evenly distribute weight. Make sure it has adjustable, padded shoulder straps and a waist strap to minimize the bag’s movement.
Packing Your Luggage:
Choose and pack your luggage carefully; packing only what you absolutely need! Remember the larger and heavier the case, the more strain it will place on your neck, back and shoulders. Make sure whatever you use as your carry-on doesn’t weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of your body weight. Keep the contents of your carry-on to a minimum, put heavier items at the bottom and make efficient use of the bag’s pockets.
Lifting And Carrying Your Luggage:
Even if your suitcase has wheels, lifting your luggage can’t always be avoided. Reduce your risk of injury by moving slowly and, whenever possible, breaking the lifting action into smaller parts. For example, when loading your suitcase into the trunk of a car, try lifting it first onto a chair or step-stool, then lifting it into the trunk.
When lifting, get close to your luggage and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knees and let your leg muscles – not your back – do the lifting! Avoid twisting motions; instead, turn your feet in the direction you are headed and turn your entire body in that direction.
- Don’t carry heavy luggage for long periods of time.
- Carry lighter items in each hand rather than a single heavy item on one side.
- If using a duffel or shoulder bag, switch sides often to reduce the strain on your back, neck and shoulders.
Injuries that result from improper lifting and carrying a heavy load don’t just affect your vacation, they often become chronic. If you are experiencing pain after your travels be sure to give us a call at 519-653-1020 as soon as you return! Injuries are often quicker to heal when treated as early as possible.
From all of us here at Blaser Chiropractic, have a great and safe summer vacation!