Man bag fad bad for back

Sporting a weighty "man bag" may be the latest fashion for fellows, but it can cause back pain and poor posture, say British chiropractors.

Trendsetters such as footballer David Beckham, rapper Jay-Z and actor Brad Pitt have all been spotted wearing the functional fashion accessory that the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) say can be bad for your back.

The BCA says that the man bag in its various guises –from traditional over-the-shoulder laptop case, to messenger bag and satchel, should be used with caution.

A BCA study showed that the average man bag weighs up to 6.2 kg. In the digital age men's bags are loaded with essential on-the-go accessories, laptops, mp3 players, phones and gym kit - a hefty burden if carried on one shoulder for prolonged periods of time.

"(Man bags) could cause back and shoulder pain from prolonged stress; this could also impact posture" said Tim Hutchful from the BCA. "We need to become savvier in how we use them, whilst learning to read our bodies and know when we're placing too much pressure on certain points."

To avoid being weighed down by your man bag, the BCA recommends alternating the shoulder you sling the strap over, keeping the strap short and not carrying your bag for extended periods of time.

(Reuters Health, Madeleine Cowley, February 2011)

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