Shoulder bags can be a pain in the neck!
by Rachid Taiss
Sore upper back, tense shoulder muscles, tight or uncomfortable neck, those are the few symptoms that you may experience on recurring basis. You may suffer silently, the unaware suffering till you go for your next massage or next time you have a physical task that requires extra strength or flexibility in the areas mentioned.
If you often carry a shoulder bag, and suffer from recurring pain and discomfort, do not assume the pain is a mere product of age. It is most likely caused by stress, by daily long sitting hours working on a computer or watching TV. Or it’s simply due to heavy housework and taking care of your family extensively.
In fact, if you carry a shoulder bag often and experience chronic tension in the muscles mentioned earlier then there is a big chance that your bag is the culprit. Your pain may be due to the way you carry it. Yes, it is your carrying technique because there is only one absolutely proper way to carry your bag. Of course, there are a few bad techniques, the poor techniques.
Let’s look at various ways to carry a shoulder bag.
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Some bad techniques to carry a shoulder bag are listed below.
– Fixing your elbow in a locked position to your side, kind of anchored at your lumbar area is a bad thing. The elbow should be moving, flowing, in motion, alive and alive all the time.
– Keeping your bag on one single side of your body, either right or left, is also a bad option. Alternate REGULARLY, with small intervals between the right and left shoulder.
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– Maintaining your shoulder in a locked position will also cause tension in your neck, shoulder or upper back muscles. Your shoulder and shoulder blade should be a little relaxed but never rigid or tense. If you are wondering whether there is a way to relax your shoulder without causing your bag to fall, the answer is yes, absolutely. Just experiment at home and allow yourself some trials and errors of bag falls and bag pick-ups. You will be amazed at the results.
– Tightening your hand/wrist or making a fist with your hand for longer periods of time is also a bad idea. One may think a fist has nothing to do with your upper body or shoulder, but give it a try! Tighten your hand or make a fist and try to feel whether you can relax your upper arm and shoulder. A Big chance you won’t be able to. Now, untighten your hand and wrist and feel how easy it is to relax them.
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Now, if you want to carry your bag using the proper technique, a few tips are listed.
– Allow your elbow to flow, forward and backward, spanning continuously form different positions in front of you and behind you, i.e. from being away from your body behind you, to passing next to your side (lumbar area) before moving away from you to a forward point, and vice versa.
– Let your shoulder and shoulder blade relax and flow.
– Don’t tighten your hand or wrist. Don’t make a fist.
– Alternate between putting your bag on your right side and your left side in small time intervals.
– Relax your wrist in such a way to allow your palm to take different positions during transition, in a continuous way from facing down (facing the ground), to facing in (palm facing the space in front of your abs or upper legs) and facing up (facing the space in front of your head and eyes). This last motion will feel and look like a stirring, turning or supinating motion of the arm and wrist.
– Finally, the best option is to put your bag straps at your elbow, epicondyle area of the arm, the area between your upper arm and forearm, while making sure your upper arm, forearm, hand and fingers are all flexible and relaxed as much as possible.
This last alternative for carrying your bag has an extra bonus. It just looks nice.
By Rachid Taiss
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