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Author Topic: Shoulder injuries and carrying heavy bags  (Read 21238 times)
big_giant_head
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« on: July 12, 2009, 3:14:54 pm »

I have a partial rotator-cuff tear in the shoulder that has always borne the heavy loads.  Carrying my books/computer/lunch on that shoulder is not the cause of the injury...or at least, not the primary cause. The dog nearly yanking my arm out of the socket gets that credit.  But my PT says women my age often have injuries like this, partly because we don't maintain proper posture, we don't do the right preventive exercises, and we tend to ignore problems until they get too annoying to be ignored.

I'm going to physical therapy now, although I may have caused more damage by waiting too long to do this (there's apparently quite a bit of "impingement" of the joint, caused by scar tissue or who knows what).  The injury happened in February and I went to the doc last week.  I kept thinking it would get better, and I think I'm still in 'no health insurance' mode even though I have good insurance now.

Anyway, when the PT asked if there was anything else that may have hurt my shoulder and I told her about the bookbag, she gave me some major stink-eye.  And then once our first session was done, she gave me some exercises to do at home and told me to "never, ever again" carry anything heavy in a bag over that shoulder.  She even threatened to come to campus to spy on me.

My question for you, Wise Forumites, is this: Really?  Do I really have to get one of those damn roly bags and go chunkchunkchunkchunk down every hallway from now on?  Or is there some other option?
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locutus
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2009, 3:46:35 pm »

Can you carry it in the other hand briefcase style? Not ideal but maybe better than a roller.

Also get a smaller dog! :)
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oseph
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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2009, 3:54:27 pm »

I bought a rolling bag and a backpack.  I use the backpack for my laptop plus basic papers, and I use the rolling bag for when books are added to the laptop and papers.  I bought a really nice Tom Bihn Brain Bag for the backpack, so I don't feel as bad about ditching my much fancier Tumi shoulder bag - which was wonderful but triggering migraines.  Yes, I do use both shoulder straps for the backpack, and distributing the weight seems to have solved the problem, even though we're still talking about shoulder carrying.  The Brain Bag actually allows you to carry most of the weight on your hips if you use the bottom strap.  No, I don't really care anymore what I look like.  As for the roller - well, I figure I'm a mother now, and I shop at Talbots, so I might as well give in to dumpiness in an effort to preserve my health and well-being.  If you're not ready to give in yet, then I'd go for the sleekest backpack you can find.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2009, 3:55:51 pm by oseph » Logged

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big_giant_head
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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2009, 3:59:23 pm »

Locutus, I could try to use the other hand, but my habits are so ingrained that I would almost certainly switch over without realizing it. 

(We do have the dog on a pinch collar now, at least.)  :-)

Oseph, that is a sexy bag.  And as you so gently imply...I'm unlikely to be mistaken for a student ever again, so there's probably no backpack=student ethos issue to worry about.  Now.  Can I justify paying that much for a backpack when I can get a merely adequate one at Target for a lot less moolah?
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oseph
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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2009, 4:10:17 pm »

Locutus, I could try to use the other hand, but my habits are so ingrained that I would almost certainly switch over without realizing it.  

(We do have the dog on a pinch collar now, at least.)  :-)

Oseph, that is a sexy bag.  And as you so gently imply...I'm unlikely to be mistaken for a student ever again, so there's probably no backpack=student ethos issue to worry about.  Now.  Can I justify paying that much for a backpack when I can get a merely adequate one at Target for a lot less moolah?

Yes.  This backpack will last for a very long time, it distributes the weight very well, it is really nicely designed to hold things in sensible places, and if it is stylish enough that you use it regularly, then it is a good investment.  It is a work tool that also contributes to good workplace health.  That is a better investment than many other things you could spend your money on.

And I didn't mean to imply you'd reached The Plateau of I Don't Care If I Look Stylish - you certainly may not have.  I was just acknowledging that I have, and it isn't such a bad place to be.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2009, 4:11:38 pm by oseph » Logged

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big_giant_head
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2009, 4:16:42 pm »

Oh, I like to look good, but I define "good" very differently that most of the chirren in my classrooms.  I was amused, not offended.
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oseph
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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2009, 4:54:19 pm »

Well, seriously, if your doctor says that a good backpack is okay, then invest in the Brain Bag and wear the bottom strap low and tight to carry most of the weight there.  It is worth it.
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Oseph....you are right and you make sense.

For your future comments, I insult very directly.
terpsichore
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2009, 6:24:44 pm »

Rolling bags may be worse than a backpack. A heavy rolling bag can torque your shoulder (because you are dragging a weight behind you.) Check with your PT.
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jacaranda_
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2009, 6:44:51 pm »

I'm going to put in another vote for spending a bit more for something other than a Target product (you want good design and durability, esp. for the wheels, which need to last).  And I would disagree about the dangers of the rolling bag -- I commuted to a research library all summer and it was much, much better than carrying all that stuff.

I commuted through Union Station in DC and lusted daily after something in the luggage store that looks like this orange wonder.

It also came in hot pink and red.  The bag detaches from the rolling unit.  I know, the price.  I think I still want one.  *sigh*
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big_giant_head
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2009, 8:07:34 pm »

Crap.  If Miz Thang sees one that comes in orange, she'll buy it for me and make me take it to work.

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big_giant_head
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2009, 8:17:10 pm »

Crap.  If Miz Thang sees one that comes in orange, she'll buy it for me and make me take it to work.



Oh, even better. She just came in here, and I suspect she is not taking this thing seriously.  For years, she has believed that my true sport, the one that was designed with me in mind, is truck-pulling.  You know, that strong-man event where a man (or, theoretically, a woman) straps into a thick harness, squats down, heaves, grunts, sweats, lurches repeatedly, and eventually manages to get the truck/locomotive/mobile home moving along a path for a specified distance.

She took one look at the "orange wonder" and decided that I need a truck-pulling harness, attached to that bag.  Now she's very excited.

I will grant that I have excellent lower-body strength, but I may have to set her on fire, briefly.
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pennsyltucky
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2009, 8:26:03 pm »


She took one look at the "orange wonder" and decided that I need a truck-pulling harness, attached to that bag.  Now she's very excited.

I will grant that I have excellent lower-body strength, but I may have to set her on fire, briefly.


Here is another, friendlier, option.  You could put your stuff in the cart and walk along side it.  This option is also nice.

This sounds awful.  I'm sorry about it.  I think you are going to have to go roly, at least in the short term for the heavier weights, if you want to allow it to heal completely.
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malcha
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2009, 8:35:46 pm »

If I may hijack a bit -- and pause to reflect wistfully that this would be a great thread for the mini donkey to visit -- how well to the wheels on the rolly bags last?  I've been thinking of getting one, but I'd be walking two or three miles with it a day, and somehow I doubt they are meant to stand up to that kind of wear.
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punchnpie
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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2009, 12:28:55 am »

I tore my rotator cuff 2 yrs ago slipping down bus stairs (thankfully) into a snow bank. I didn't know what it was, other than it hurt, but figured a fall like that was gonna hurt and just dealt with it. Months later it still hurt and when I explained it to my son, he said "torn rotator cuff." I guess watching all that football paid off...

Anyway, long story short, I went to the sports doc and indeed, that's what it was, along with frozen shoulder, something that diabetics, as well as middle aged-women, can get. I did PT for about 3 months, had a shot of cortisone, and did exercises at home. Because reaching around back was painful, taking my backpack on and off was also aggravating the condition.

I went to a messenger bag and wear it over the affected shoulder. Now, by time I did this, it was maybe 10 months after the injury, but the shoulder bag has been fine and I use them all the time now. It has taken most of 2 years for me to get most of my range of movement back. Doc says that what I have now is probably all I'm gonna get. I think you'll be able to wear your shoulder bag on that side again, but you may have to wear it on the other side for awhile. You'll know when you aren't feeling right and need to adjust what you're doing.
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cc_alan
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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2009, 12:58:19 am »

Ditto on getting suggestions from your pt. Also, since this is a work issue, see about having your department paying for it. And don't cheap it since this is about maximizing your job performance without continuing to injure yourself.

Alan
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