Bagging a Bad Back
Last updated: November 4, 2010
I still have the doctor’s style bag I used in secondary school. Brown leather it was and built to last. She carried the full load too – probably the heaviest bag in the college and so, a source of some pride. Of course there was no need to bring all my books all the time –turns out I may have been better to try and memorise the contents. But if I was warned it was lost on me. I can only guess that my last 35 or so years of back pain is linked to an overweight bag. One thing is for sure; I’ll hand-me-down the bag with a health warning. And of course throw out some of the books.
These days we tell our school-goers to use only backpacks and carry as little as practical. Wide cushioned straps worn over both shoulders spread the load evenly. Compartments distribute weight better and a fastened waist belt keeps the load close and stable, reducing stress. Carry the heaviest books nearest the spine and if the pack is cushioned it will protect the back from protruding rulers or sharp pencils.
We also tell shoppers to try and distribute the load into two shopping bags; half the load in each hand works much better. And if you are stuck with a briefcase, try and swap hands and sides frequently; it really can make a difference. Of course the suitcase with the wheels is a life-saver. Airlines may have helped us by making us more aware of carrying unnecessary weight.
Ironic isn’t it, that a Doctor’s bag can potentially do a lot of damage? I don’t know how well mine contributed to Leaving Certificate points, but it may well have set me up for a career in Physical Therapy and I learned some valuables lessons from it – albeit in a more painful way than I would have wished at the time.
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