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Updated 09 May 2016

Heavy luggage may cause back, neck and shoulder strains

Orthopaedic surgeons are concerned about travellers injuring themselves while carrying heavy luggage during the holiday period.

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Heavy luggage may be more than a hassle for holiday travels, and those overloaded bags can sometimes cause health problems, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) warns.

Rather use a few smaller bags

"Individuals are at high risk for back, neck and shoulder strains when carelessly handling heavy luggage," Dr Nitin Khanna, an orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson, said in an academy news release.

"Always be cognisant of the way you are lifting heavy luggage to avoid painful injuries," Khanna advised.

In 2014, Americans suffered almost 73,000 luggage-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Read: Health tips for the holidays

When you shop for new luggage, look for a sturdy, light piece with wheels and a handle, the AAOS said. Pack lightly. If possible, put items in a few smaller bags rather than one large piece of luggage.

Never twist your body when carrying or lifting luggage. Rather, point your toes in the direction you are going and then turn your entire body in that direction.

Don't rush when carrying or lifting luggage. If it's too heavy or an awkward shape, ask for help.

Don't carry heavy luggage for long periods of time. Check heavy baggage rather than carrying it on a bus, train or plane, the AAOS said.

When lifting luggage onto platforms or into a car trunk, bend at the knees, lift with your legs, and keep it close to your body. When putting baggage in an overhead compartment, first lift it onto the top of the seat, then grab both sides and lift it up.

If you're using a backpack, it should have two padded and adjustable shoulder straps and several compartments where you can secure different-sized items. Use both shoulder straps when carrying the backpack, the AAOS recommended.

Read more:

How to avoid stress and depression these holidays

How to stay healthy over the holidays

How to handle a medical emergency these holidays

Image: Vector of a backpacker from iStock

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