Messenger Bag vs Backpack – What’s better for back health?

It’s a raging fashion debate:

The debate of messenger bag vs backpack for back health is a one that’s been around for a long time.

People go back and forth on what’s better for your health. While some argue that backpacks are the winner, many say it’s actually messenger bags.

Below we’re going to discuss what’s better for your back and your posture, as well as what you can do to improve your back health!

Messenger bag vs backpack - back health issues

How did we get here?

As the years have progressed and technology improved, one would think people would be carrying less around with them.

However, the fact remains that Americans are carrying more and more with them every day.

A study conducted by NPR in 2016 showed that nearly half the people surveyed suffered from lower back pain.

Now, that study isn’t saying that the back pain was specifically linked to messenger bags or backpacks, but the results are still quite astonishing.

Think about all the things you carry with you during your day to day; laptop, tablet, phone, documents, charger. While all these items seem small and light, they eventually add up over time.

Backpacks for back health? What about messenger bags?

So which one is better for your back health – Messenger bags or Backpacks?

Several studies from Everyday Health and Men’s Health have shown that the messenger bag isn’t the safest choice for your back. This leaves the backpack as the winner for back health.

Let’s look at “why”:

The dual straps make it easier for the weight to be distributed and many backpacks can carry a lot more medium to heavier items without adding too much pressure on your back. The straps on the backpack also make it easier to stay close to your body and have less slouching.

Backpacks in general are more durable than messenger bags. For someone who’s a frequent flier or busy college student, the backpack is your way to go. The weight of your books or luggage won’t weigh on just one side of your body, making it more comfortable for you so that half your body isn’t being weighed down.

Other advantages a backpack offer include:

  • They distribute the load evenly across your back
  • Versatility
  • Lot of compartments and space which helps to organize your stuff
  • Perfect for traveling, hiking, etc.

While messenger bags do have their advantages for being easy to carry and easily accessible, it may not always be your best choice in the long run if you’re looking to keep yourself healthy. It’s natural for us to walk and swing our arms legs.

A messenger bag makes this hard to do, by weighing down one side of your body.

Choosing the best backpack or bag for law school students

Some other side effects from messenger bags can on your body are:

  • Muscle tightness
  • Backaches
  • Decreased curve of the neck due to tightness, sometimes known as “military neck”
  • Neck pain that causes the turning of the head to be difficult
  • Headaches

Who would’ve thought that stylish and professional bag you shoulder can do so much damage? Well good news is that you don’t have to worry about discarding that bag just yet because we have some helpful tips to help keep your back in top shape!

Is a messenger bag good for back health?

So What Can You Do To Improve Your Health?

So let’s say you’re an avid messenger bag user. You love your bag and it’s convenient for you and all your necessities, plus you like the way it looks on you.

First is to pack light. We live in a world where everything is at our fingertips. Maybe reconsider bringing all those books and your laptop.

Also remember that a lot of products today can do multiple tasks at once. If you’re still lugging around a big laptop, maybe invest in a tablet that weighs less and can do just as much as your laptop.

Another great piece of technology we have with us today is the “cloud.”

Features like Google Drive or iCloud are perfect for storing files and documents so that you don’t have to worry about lugging binders and folders around in your already limited bag space. You can also access some these on work computer or your laptop.

How can you protect yourself when wearing a messenger bag?

Choosing a messenger bag with wider straps or different strap options is another great way to keep the weight off and the bag resting comfortably on your shoulder. The strap will distribute the weight between your back and shoulders.

Also consider switching shoulders if you’re going to be on an extended trip or walking longer distances.

In addition, you can designate different bags for different uses. Rather than try and fit all your belongings into one bag, have a briefcase for work, a gym bag, etc. Of course this can all add and you don’t want to be carrying more than one bag at a time, you can always leave a bag in the car or at the office.

Some other great ways to improve your back health with a messenger bag are:

  • Use your hand to support the bag
  • Be a minimalist
  • Carry less than 10% of your body weight
  • Look how the bag sits on you in the morning, if you notice it’s too heavy reconsider some items

Backpack versus messenger bag - what's better for back health?

One last thing to consider

While a backpack may be your best bet in maintaining a healthy back, it’s also important to remember that they too can cause some back issues as well. It’s always important to remember that too much isn’t always the safest bet.

We all remember the health lessons in school of making sure your backpack isn’t too heavy.

We as adults aren’t immune to such problems even though we’re older. While we may be young (in relative sense of the word) some of these issues can come back at us at an older age.

Moderation is key. Just because a backpack can carry a lot doesn’t mean you should overstuff it. If you’re a student, figure out what books you need for that day and always check and see if you can use the book on your laptop. This saves from bringing items you don’t need.

The website The Posture Police wrote an article on how to walk and carry yourself with a messenger bag. Review this article for some helpful tips and make sure you’re not hurting yourself!

Looking for more help? Check out this video for some important tips:

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