January 15, 2018

Watch: How Years of Carrying Heavy Camera Bags Affect Your Body

Carrying around all of that camera gear really takes a toll on your body over time.

There are so many questions we as filmmakers have to ask ourselves in order to stay healthy, like, "Am I getting enough sleep," or "Is my workload pushing me to the edge of sanity?" However, there might be one thing you may have never thought to ask yourself, something that could save you from years of excruciating pain, as well as thousands of dollars in meds and corrective physical therapy. I'll go ahead and ask you now: How heavy is your everyday camera bag and how do you carry it? 

What does your camera bag have to do with your health? Well, here's photographer Jay Perry to explain.

After experiencing horrible back pain and headaches, Perry was advised to seek a pain specialist to find out what was causing his symptoms. He then learned that his poor posture was the culprit, and his heavy camera bag was its main accomplice. 

But hey, you're not lugging around a giant 50 lb. case all day every day, are you? Well, that's good, but neither was Perry. In fact, his bag only weighed about 10 lbs., which doesn't seem like a big deal, but years and years of constantly carrying around that much weight on the same shoulder can cause serious health problems.

So, what should you do about it? Massage therapist and friend of Perry's, Jarek Gora, gives the following tips to help correct your posture:

  • Be balanced
  • Move your body
  • Stretch
  • Spend some time "doing the opposite" of what you do most of the time
  • Use a backpack instead of a traditional camera bag

I'm not a doctor, so I can't give any of you professional advice, but as someone who has to deal with chronic tension headaches and back, neck, and shoulder pain, I definitely make an effort to do everything on Gora's list on a daily basis. In fact, after experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel in my hands several months ago (most likely due to spending 8-12 hours per day typing), stretching and using better posture (luckily) cleared up all of those shooting pains in my fingers and wrists. As creatives who spend so much time on our feet shooting scenes or sitting in a chair editing projects, it's so important to do right by our bodies before they become incapable of doing right by us.      

Your Comment

5 Comments

This is also important for gimbal users. Hope they have chiros on speed dial.

January 16, 2018 at 9:59AM, Edited January 16, 9:59AM

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Pat Heine
Producer.
404

Yoga.
Flexchair when you sit a lot.

Wheels.

January 17, 2018 at 7:23AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8641

It depends which camera do you have.
If you taking a lot of stuff with you, for sure it will heart in a while

January 17, 2018 at 9:36AM, Edited January 17, 9:36AM

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Christine Meany
Writer
93

This is why you slim down your gear bag, take frequent breaks, and stretch through out the day.

February 16, 2018 at 5:21AM

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Charles Duoto
Floor Director
83

I'm noticing that the camera bag aggravates the arthritis in my right shoulder.

February 16, 2018 at 1:44PM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1084