Many people are under the assumption that backpacks are one of the more sensible and less-harmful methods of carrying items. The truth is, heavy backpacks are just as harmful as other alternatives (such as those with shoulder straps) especially if you’re over-filling them, and carrying around a backpack weight that is too much for your frame.
If you’re a regular backpack user and you’ve started to find yourself aching or experiencing strain in your back – it could be due to the backpack and the amount of weight you’ve been carrying with you. Good spinal health is vital for a healthy and active lifestyle.
Backpack dangers for children
Of course, when we think of heavy backpacks, we think of children heading off to school. Children are often at-risk from the damages that can be caused from a heavy backpack full of school supplies. They use them all week, throughout the school day. Most children walk to school, and walk between classes with their backpack on, and it’s during this time that carrying a heavy backpack can cause the most back damage.
Children are also unlikely to complain about their back problems – as they have less experience of pain to compare their discomfort to. So, if your children are using backpacks for school, as their parent you need to be checking the weight of the backpack and the comfort of your child frequently. This is even more important if your children is likely to carry multiple books or digital devices such as tablets of laptops. It’s also important to teach your children how to wear their backpack properly, as many children will wear it in a way that ‘looks cool’ but might not necessarily give them the support they need.
Many Chiropractors see children throughout the year who experience strains in their muscles and joints, muscle aches, balance issues, posture problems and even misalignments due to backpack related injuries. They also treat children who experience sleeping issues because of backpack-related pain in their spine and hips.
Of course, these back issues can all be experienced by adults too, who may be having the same problem.
Backpack dangers for adults
For adults experiencing back pain from their heavy backpacks, the best preventative treatment is to reduce the weight you’re carrying, or find a new way of transporting items. In cities such as London, many commuters choose to use the small pull-along cases that many brands design for hand luggage on planes. These are usually small enough for most forms of public transport, but allow the same storage as a backpack (with none of the associated back pain).
If purchasing a new bag isn’t an option, make sure you’re carrying your items properly, and wearing your bag correctly too. You should always wear both straps of your backpack, and you should pull the bag tightly to your body so it isn’t bouncing or slouched. Try to also pack your bag mindfully, considering where items are placed and trying to centralise the heaviest things.
If you’re already experiencing pain and you need help, then chiropractic treatment is the best option for recovery. Chiropractic care will not only advise you on posture techniques, spinal manipulation, and recommend exercises to help you manage the pain, but they can also start the healing process to help you regain strength and confidence in your back once again.
Back damage can stop you doing all kind of activities and everyday tasks, so it is something you want to address and get a professional to look at, as soon as you recognise it.