Following the final Design For MSK meet up, one of the products we decided I should develop is the bag strap enhancement. This simple adaptation can be easily attached to any bag strap using velcro flaps. Many of the participants had said carrying fashionable bags with thin straps was uncomfortable and causes them shoulder pain. My hope is this design will make any bag more comfortable by adding a wider and more supportive shoulder strap.
Not only would the padded strap add comfort, but a pocket on the underside means you will also be able to add a heat or ice pack to when necessary to help alleviate pain.
The upper fabric of the strap can be made in a variety of materials and colours in order to blend in with the users bag. I would also like to use a plush fleece for the underside to provide further comfort for the wearer, providing the heat/ice pack can still be felt through the fabric.
I had planned for the piece to accommodate standard sized ice packs, widely available from physio therapists or pharmacy’s so a specialist piece isn’t required. Ideally they would need to measure approximately 16cmX8cm, however I have only been able find very large packs (30cmX15cm) or square packs (14cmX15cm).
I discussed my initial designs with a physio therapist. She told me the pain caused by carrying heavy bags does not effect the top of the shoulder but the spinal plexus nerves. The pain patients usually suffer is felt in the very top of the back and back of the shoulder. In order to relieve this pain it’s important apply heat/ice to this area to relax the muscle and not just heat up/cool down the shoulder.
With that in mind I have decided to change the shape of my design so the heat is applied to the correct place. I feel a kidney shaped support would work best as it should apply to a larger area of heat across the the top of the back.
Now have I made some rough sketches I will go on to create digital spec drawings. I will then create a pattern and a basic prototype so I can test whether heat will be applied to the necessary points. I will consult with a physio therapist again at this point to see if there are any further improvements they feel can be made to this product.