The Worst Bag for your Posture, According to a Chiropractor

There are a variety of things used to transport personal items ranging from totes, to shoulder bags and purses. Many people who carry large amounts of items or heavy loads opt to use a rolling backpacks. Others may prefer a canvas messenger bag or tote. The method we use is often selected based on the latest fashion trends. According to chiropractors, we should be placing far more importance on the bags we use on a daily basis to transport our belongings.

Unfortunately, we are spending a significant amount of time hunched over our computers typing, eating at our desks, texting and many other things. The issue with this is that we are positioning our body in a forward motion which causes increased problems with our posture. These negative effects of our posture eventually lead to lower back and neck pain. When you use a bag that isn’t well balanced on your body, the pain is just emphasized. Having good posture means maintaining the natural curvatures in the spine and activating the necessary muscles to stay upright Even worse and compounding the issue, we are selecting the biggest bag possible and carrying around everything we might possibly need. For most of us who are not minimalists, our bags contain a laptop, charger, phone, lunch, hand sanitizer, wallet, cosmetics, water and anything else we might possibly need, Chiropractors warn that as the size of our bags increases, so does the problem with our posture. When we carry a heavy load over one shoulder, we tend to slouch to the dominant side to counteract the imbalance. The preferred method is to use a backpack with two straps to evenly distribute the weight.

Backpacks typically have a chest strap and a waist strap. But many of us opt to not use these additional straps as they can look tactical or don’t work well with our outfit. Though poor posture or chronic back pain is far worse than looking like you’re going for a hike, many of us fail to come to this conclusion on our own.

Due to the impact they have on posture and inability to evenly distribute weight, shoulder bags are the worst option and they are closely followed by a cross body bag. Anything that doesn’t allow for even weight distribution can lead to a muscle imbalance and your body will naturally try to compensate. This is why opting for a backpack or rolling bag is the best option.

Some people are unwilling to sacrifice when it comes to style and refuse to give up their shoulder or cross body bag. There are still ways to improve the impacts these options have on your posture. One way is to reduce the load you are carrying. Another suggestion is to take care of your body when you are not carrying a bag. Take the time to stretch, use a foam roller and participate in yoga or other gentle movement classes to help correct your posture. There are many different class options which can help people improve their alignment and balance. For some people, an online class may work well as they can easily fit it into a busy schedule and the classes be done from the comfort of their home.

Three chiropractor recommended rules for selecting the perfect pillow

For many couples, finding the right setup for sleeping can be a difficult balance. One specific area of conflict can be the number and types of pillows to use. While one person may prefer a single pillow, their partner may prefer to use two or more. This may seem like an arbitrary preference, however, according to chiropractors, pillows play an important role in sleep and overall alignment.

Chiropractors confirm that the pillow you use is critical and if used incorrectly, can cause issues down the road. Using the wrong pillows can lead to a misalignment of the spine. Over time, this imbalance can result in pain and lead to other problems.

For good alignment, both your pillow selection and your sleeping position play important roles. The purpose of a pillow is to help maintain the proper curve in your neck while you are sleeping. When you are standing and looking from the side, the bones in your neck are supposed to curve toward the front. The upper and mid-back they should curve towards the back. And in the lower back, the spine should curve back towards the front. Ideally, this will create a reverse C shape in the neck.

The number, shape and density of your pillow all play important roles to ensure you are getting the best alignment. The following are three rules endorsed by chiropractors to achieve the perfect pillow setup.

1. Firm or fluffy thickness

Some people prefer thin, flat pillows while others choose a dense and thick option. According to chiropractors, there isn’t a catch-all answer in selecting the perfect pillow. Pillows which are too soft or too fluffy can both cause issues as they do not properly support the neck while sleeping.

The proper pillow shouldn’t be too thick or too soft. The most important factors are the positioning and fitting well under your head. People should look for pillows that are about three inches high and ensure it also has enough give to allow your head to fall back.

2. Unique shapes beyond the rectangle

An ideal pillow has space for your head while simultaneously providing your neck the necessary support. Some pillows are designed specifically with an extra ridge for your neck and hole or opening for your head. This provides the ability to keep your neck supported in a straight line. Some chiropractors recommend that their patients purchase a custom-made pillow from companies such as Pillow Wise. Another popular brand, Pillo-Pedic, has firm ridges to support the neck and a soft, memory-foam center for your head. Some doctors also suggest using a V-shaped pillow which provides space for your head to rest flat and protects the curve of your neck.

3. How many pillows should be used

The suggested number of pillows for correct alignment is one. Using two or more pillows will push your head forward and tilt your chin down toward your chest. This position adds tension to your neck and goes against the natural C-curve that helps encourage proper alignment while sleeping.

Some people prefer sleeping without pillows altogether. It really depends on the person’s posture whether or not this is suitable. Some chiropractors support this and recommend using either one or zero pillows in order to achieve proper positioning. Not using a pillow can be challenging for people who have a forward neck posture. When they lie down without a pillow, their head may not be properly aligned because it naturally tilts forward. Sleeping without the use of a pillow is only suggested for those who are in proper alignment. In conclusion, chiropractors recommend using one, high quality and supportive pillow to achieve proper alignment for your head and neck while sleeping.

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