Does Using a Man Bag Bad For Your Back?
The British Chiropractic Association has been in the news recently with a study they did on men with back pain and their man bags.
Apparently 60% of men polled use a man bag and 66% of the men polled also have had back pain before. The man bags they wore had an average weight of 6.2kgs with a laptop usually making up the most weight in a bag. I use a laptop bag myself and, like the picture, I use a single strap over my shoulder type. So does it mean you have to get rid of the trendy man bag in order to avoid back ache and use a boring double strap school bag instead? That’s what’s today’s post is asking.
Really, Man Bags Cause Back Pain?
Do you use a “man bag“? I wonder, does a laptop bag count as a man bag?
For me a man bag can be cool or not so cool from a style point of view. It also depends when do you use a man bag. If you carry lots of goods like laptop, tablet PC (ipad, galaxy tab etc…), papers or files, I can understand the need for a daily man bag.
You can see below the contents of one guys man bag (reading book, mobile phone, camera, wallet, mp3 player, pens and pencils, note books). No notebook, netbook or tablet PC here.
According to the poll taken it would seem quite a few men in the UK use a man bag. Also quite a few men get back pain who use man bags. Most back pain studies say the population in general does experience back pain so that is no surprise. I do wonder if there are that many man bag UK men out there, maybe London.
I do believe that heavy man bags, women’s handbags, ruck sacks, school bags etc… repetitivley carried only on one shoulder could contribute to a back ache episode like a pain between the shoulder blades. There was a great video about a day in the life of a spine showing poor repetitive posture leading to a sore back and shoulders.
I guess also if you don’t have a car and want to do gym after or before work you would need a bag to carry all your gym things in. That might be quite different from the trendy man bags being used by football stars and celebs like David Beckham. What would David carry in his man bag?
How To Carry a Man Bag to Avoid Back Pain
Here is the marketing research article from the BCA.
With all this talk on man bags how should you carry a man bag in a back friendly way.
Some man bag back friendly tips according to the British Chiropractic Association article would be:
- Alternate the shoulder used to carry the man bag,
- If using a single strap style man bag carry it across your body with strap on one shoulder and the bag on the other hip,
- If there are two straps use them and have the back close to your back not near your bum like a school boy,
- Decrease the weight of the bag by not carrying things you don’t need for that day,
- Try not stay in one position long with the man bag like standing in a tube train. Try move around or the man bags position,
At the end of the day a man bag can contribute to a back pain episode because you are carrying a weight and it can be asymmetrical weight on your body forcing only certain muscle to work. If you repeat this daily then this could be a problem for you in the future or currently just like always carrying your wallet in the same back pocket causing a “wallet sciatica“.