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Anatomy of the Bag

After having a new baby, I started to look at new diaper bags. The thought came to me, “maybe I should just get a bigger purse so that I don’t have so many bags to carry”. I was also in the market for a backpack for my oldest child who was starting school. It was my concern for him that brought me back to the ergonomics of a good bag.

In my Osteopath practice, I have to say I’m quite effective at resolving back pain, shoulder pains, neck pain, headaches and that shooting pain down the arm. When it keeps coming back I start to question what it is in everyday life that could be provoking it. Repetitive and persistent issues that keep reoccurring often come back to something we do habitually. They aren’t caused by trying to move furniture all on your own, or that time you tried to drywall the ceiling. More often it’s something you don’t even think twice about. Something like carrying your purse or laptop bag.

So I thought I’d share:

  1.  Whether you’re looking for a backpack or a purse get something with wide straps. Preferably padded straps. A heavy bag from a thin strap is just going to dig into your shoulder
  2. I love the look of leather, but practically speaking, choose a bag that is made of lighter materials. This means avoiding chains, or accessories that to the weight of the bag.
  3. Adjustable straps is a must. And when you’re choosing a bag adjust the straps before you buy it too make sure it fits the way it should. The back pack should sit no higher than your shoulders, and should rest above your pelvis. The purse should hang at the level of the belly button so not to pull away from your centre of gravity.
  4. Fits snug against the body. This means choose a bag that will contort to your body when you wear it. Boxy, ridged bags won’t do this as well. For purses try to get it to rest in that sweet spot between your waist and elbow so your arm hangs naturally. For backpacks, try to find one that has added lumbar cushioning and look for a waist strap to better distribute the weight.
  5. Lots of compartments. This keeps things from moving around so you can evenly distribute the weight. It also makes thing easier to find!
  6. I’m sure you’re waiting for me to say bigger isn’t better, but this isn’t necessarily true. The important factor is that you don’t carry too much weight. With the big mom bags, the tendency is to carry more with you. The bag shouldn’t ever weigh more than 10% of your body weight, 15% if you have a backpack.

Always pack the heavy things closest to your body. When you look in the mirror your posture shouldn’t be altered by the bag. If it is, the strap is too long or you are carrying too much.

After re-thinking the importance of a good bag, I got my son the best backpack I could find, and one for myself too. Well for the baby actually. I find it much easier, to carry the baby gear in a backpack than an over sized mom bag. I can fit all my essentials in it and still have my arms free to chase, hold, or carry my kids.