How Backpacks Contribute to Back Pain

How Heavy School Bags Can Affect Posture

Your backpack seems like the best partner, hanging with you. Walking around the school or going home, filled with books and material can actually prove fatal for your posture or spine.

As a parent or backpacker, you may be seriously concerned about the issue.

The latest & modern backpacks are designed to alleviate the pain, instead of creating it.

But it can surely lead to spine pain, wear and tear of the muscles, joints, and ligaments, just in case you wear them incorrectly.

From playgroup to high school to our first job or a camping trip, your backpack carries your essentials. No doubt, they are meant to carry everything you need, keep them organized and handy access. But, you must not overload your backpacks with unnecessary stuff. 

Often, we include things that are not required. Overload and overtime cause bodily strain and lead to spine problems.

How Does Excessive Weight Cause Spine Pain? 

The excessive weight on the shoulders and back adversely affects the body posture. They bring inconvenience to the user, as the body parts naturally tend to compensate for the load.

As they lack the ability to withstand the extra weight. This raises issues like loss of flexibility, degeneration, and stiffness of muscles. The pain can spread over the body as other muscles also try to compensate for the body stain. 

According to the Orthopedic Surgeon,  Dr. Kenneth Hansraj,  the gradual pain can turn into chronic back pain and compresses the spine discs, altered body posture, neck pain, shoulder strain, and even start pain in the feet. 

Also quoted by Hansraj, “People put efforts to reach out the impacts of backpacks on the spine and body.”

Major Reason for Back pain

Slinging of Backpacks

Usually, students sling the backpack on the single strap at one shoulder. It is recommended by the experts to wear both straps at a perfect fit.  This is a simple habit and leads to severe pain in the back and spine. 

If you are suffering from back pain, then make sure that the backpack you buy must have a chest strap or waist strap. This feature is helpful in distributing the weight on the hips instead of the shoulders. 

Adjust the shoulder strap in such a way that fits comfortably on the shoulder and high on the back. It must be an inch above your waist!

You must adjust the straps according to the thickness of the clothes you are wearing. It should not be too loose or tight.

Avoid the chafing and sideways sway. It is better to have a stable load at your back as rubbing can cause severe pain. 

Your backpack must be well-positioned and fitted properly to avoid swaying even when running. 

Overweight on Shoulders

The backpack weight is the major cause of body fatigue and muscles cramp. Research metric shows that the weight of your bag should not be more than 10% of your body weight. A 120 pounds person can hold 12 pounds of weight easily.

At this weight, you will not feel any sort of discomfort even while running. The comfort of your backpack depends upon its weight.  Either you are planning a day trip, school, or work, follow the above-mentioned weight ratio. 

On the other hand, if you are planning for a multi-day trip, then your backpack should not be more than 20% of the body weight.  A 120-pound person can hold  24 pounds of weights comfortably. The ratio is increased due to the hiking boots as they provide more stability and extra support. 

Kids Backpacks 

Mostly, kids also complain about the backpack pain issue. Therefore, it is important to mention some guidelines for kids as well. 

Firstly, It is recommended for the kids to wear two shoulder straps instead of the cross-body sling backpack. This type of bag does not distribute the weight evenly. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children should not carry more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight. It means that it should weigh 6 to 14 pounds. 

If you failed to lighten up your kid’s backpack load then avail the rolling backpack for your kid. You can also go for the backpack with a chest and waist strap. This is also an effective solution to resonate the pain from the shoulder towards the waist. 

Organize your backpack stuff in such a way that the heaviest things should be placed at the center of the pack. 

Quick guidelines to prevent the back pain

Here we enlist some easy ways to carry your backpack comfortably. These techniques are useful in reducing injuries and muscular pain. 

Things to Consider 

  • Make sure about proper body alignment and posture. Your shoulders, back, and spine must distribute the weight equally, 
  • Bend your knees and pick up your backpack from the ground. (Bend slightly without straining your lower back)
  • Don’t overload your bag with unnecessary stuff
  • Perfect fit and tighten strap (According to your clothes and bag weight)
  • Choose the backpack with waist and chest strap
  • Organize heavier stuff at the center 
  • Use digital books to avoid load
  • Put the books and notebooks in school storage space
  • Look for padded, wide straps
  • Choose the backpack with multiple compartments
  • An option is to look for the backpack with wheels

Things to Avoid

  • Don’t wear a single strap
  • Uneven weight distribution 
  • No pressure on the shoulders and body posture
  • Don’t weigh more than 10% of your body weight

Try to change your habits to reduce back pain. You can read more about the daily habits to prevent back pain. 

If the pain still persists even by adopting the following guideline, then better to check for a doctor asap. 

Back pains can turn into severe issues like spine discs collapse or muscle rupture. It is recommended by the health experts to take urgent notice if you feel any sort of issues like these. 

It is advisable to buy the best backpack for middle school or college that has padded shoulders, a breathable back, a waist strap, and a medium-sized. In addition to these, avoid the activities like slinging of backpacks, unfit shoulder straps, and overload backpacks.