No Fail Technique to Pack it Right, and Wear it Right!

By: Dr. Caitlin Davidson

I don’t know about you, but September always gets me thinking about back-to-school stuff.  Which makes it the perfect time to talk about backpacks (and all the other bags we use to lug our necessities around in).  

 Carrying heavy loads that aren’t distributed properly can strain muscles, cause headaches, create neck/back/arm pain, and even result in nerve damage.  And while properly packed and fitted backpacks are the best way to carry all the stuff we need for the day, many of us use other, less ideal bags for toting our accouterments.  But whether you’re carrying a backpack, shoulder bag, handbag, yoga mat bag, re-useable shopping bag or a frantic combination of all of the above (no judgment; I do the same) there are ways to make it as easy on your body as possible.

Choose carefully: No matter what type of bag you’re carrying, try to pick one that is made of a lightweight material so that the majority of the weight you carry is the bag’s contents rather than the bag itself.  Choosing a bag that has wide, adjustable shoulder straps will make for optimal comfort and fit.  And the more pockets the better!

 Pack properly: Make sure you’re only carrying around what you need for that day, and try to distribute the weight of your items as evenly as possible (this is where lots of pockets come in handy) so that the weight doesn’t shift while you’re carrying it.  Try to pack the heaviest items where they will be closest to the body, and oddly shaped items away from the body.  The total weight of your bag should never be more than 10-15% of your own body weight.

 Wear it right: If your bag of choice is a backpack, always use both straps and adjust them to fit the pack snugly to your back (you should be able to fit a hand between your back and the pack).  If you tend to opt for a shoulder bag, alternate which shoulder you carry it on often to distribute the load and promote balance in the body.  And try to wear the strap across your chest to avoid hiking the shoulder on which your bag is carried.  

I hope these tips will help prevent your bags from becoming a pain in the back, but remember that if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of improper bag carrying, get yourself checked out!  And if you have any questions feel free to come chat with me.  We’ll be seeing a lot of each other at the 21-day challenge this month!  Happy September :)


Dr. Caitlin Davidson, BSc (Hons), DC

Dr. Davidson graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 2016, while being co-president of the ICPA Pediatrics Club and teaching in a Senior’s Chair Yoga Program. In 2017 she also became a Certified Animal Chiropractor. She is a member in good standing with College of Chiropractors of Ontario. Dr. Davidson is passionate about helping your entire family live your healthiest, most balanced lives. And she loves to practice what she preaches, which is why you can catch her in all styles of classes at Yogathletix!