Before you pack those bags, it might be a good idea to think about what type of bag you should be packing. Many holiday travelers will turn up injured on their vacations simply because they didn’t pick the right luggage and didn’t have a plan to protect their muscles from the strain of lifting, lugging and pulling their belongings.
Did you know that pulling those heavy roller bags can promote the development of shoulder and neck pain or aggravate an existing problem? Traditional roller bags can increase stress on the rotator cuff, especially if you tend to “shrug” your shoulder when you are tired of pulling. If you are pulling over long distances you are increasing the load to neck muscles and joints as well.
To decrease the risk of shoulder injury while pulling you can exchange your old roller bag for the newer “spinner” bags that allow you to walk while guiding the bag at your side. If a new suitcase is not an option, rotate your palm down with your thumb pointed out while pulling your bag. This creates more space for rotator cuff tendons and discourages shrugging.
Bring only carry-ons that you can safely and easily lift. Be sure to squat down prior to lifting, utilizing the large muscles of your legs to support the load. Consider packing air-inflatable lumbar and neck support or bring a couple of small towels to roll up to support your neck and lower back. Sitting for a long period in a slumped position can increase aches and pains and increases the load on the spine by 48%. If you have a history of back or neck problems, give us a call to ask what would be most appropriate for you. In general, comfort should be your guide and you may notice that your back and neck muscles feel more relaxed when you have the appropriate amount of support.
If you have injured yourself while traveling or aggravated a previous injury, the best course of action is to apply RICE : Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Limit application of ice to 20 minutes at a time. If necessary seek medical attention. We hope these tips will save you some grief and that you will have a wonderful time on all of your journeys!