Backpacks Not Worn Correctly by Students & Commuters

Improper Use Causes Back Pain, Undue Strain

The school year is beginning, and that means parents are stocking up on school supplies. Those supplies are typically housed in a trusty backpack. Many doctors warn about improper wearing of backpacks causing undue pain and back strain.

Per Dr. Michael Cordas, PinnacleHealth’s director of sports medicine, the majority of students wear their backpacks to high or low. He also states that, more often than not, there is simply too much weight in the pack to begin with.

How Much Weight Should I Carry in My Backpack?

According to Dr. Cordas, you should keep the pack’s weight no more than 10 percent of the child’s body weight. Researchers at the University of San Diego recommend a weight of no more than 15 percent, after a study done using 10 children ages 12 to 14.


Wear Your Backpack As It Was Intended

To prevent pain and undue pressure, students and commuters alike are urged to use both shoulder straps. Using one strap, slung over one shoulder, is not the preferred method. Wear the pack high on the back, but not so high that the straps are too tight around the shoulders. Low backpacks cause undue strain on the lower back and shoulders.

Choosing the Correct Backpack

Look for a pack with two shoulder straps, as a single strap distributes the weight unevenly. Look for padding on the straps and on the area that rests against the back. Choose a lightweight pack, preferably with a waist strap, which transfers much of the weight to the hips instead of the shoulders. The best possible pack would be a rolling bag, especially for heavier loads.

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