This is week 3 of our 6-week travel series. This week we will talk about the problems of carting heavy luggage and its impact on the lower back and shoulders.
Imagine this. You stumble off the plane after enduring 17 hours in cramped conditions. Your lower back and neck are stiff, but it feels great to be moving, striding out as you walk the kilometres to the baggage reclaim area. In fact, you congratulate yourself on taking the stairs instead of the escalator. You find your flight luggage carousel (along with 400 others) and wait an eternity for the luggage to come out. At last there is movement and you spot your black, oversized luggage (after all, you will be away for a while!). As you bend forward to grab it, you notice a bit of a twinge in the lower back, so you choose to drag your bag off the carousel rather than lift. You notice a sharp pain in the right shoulder. At first you take no notice – you are just relieved to have your luggage and be heading towards customs. The shoulder starts to ache and twinge a bit more as you drag your luggage towards the exit. Dilemma.
Shoulders and backs can often be the victim of heavy luggage, particularly when you repeatedly lift or drag. It is often the rotator cuff that bears the brunt of the damage and occurs more commonly with those of us who are aged 45 and over.
So, here are few tips regarding handling heavy luggage and advice on lifting and manual handling:
· Avoid repeated bending from the lower back – use your legs rather than your back – bend from the knees and hips instead of your lower back.
· Avoid twisting your spine when you are lifting.
· Keep the load close to your body.
· Before you lift, engage your core stabilisers by bracing your abdomen and setting your shoulder blades down and back. Brace – lift.
· Prepare for the trip with a few simple strengthening exercises. Keeping strong around your abdomen, lower back, legs and shoulders will help to avoid shoulder and back injuries when dealing with luggage. A few simple exercises include:
o Push-ups. If you can’t do a floor push-up, start with push-ups against a wall, then progress to floor push-ups from the knees.
o Sit ups.
Hope this is helpful.