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The Dangers of Heavy Backpacks

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.

Best Ways to Correct your Posture

All of us are guilty of neglecting our posture and holding positions which are bad for our backs. Whether it’s slumping over a computer or tablet, or walking with too many heavy bags, we should be taking an active role in trying to correct our posture. Sitting, standing or lying in a bad posture on a regular basis can cause long term problems, especially as you age.

If you know that you don’t always sit up straight or properly look after your back, then it’s never too late to try and correct your posture. Maintaining a good posture has many benefits for the body and mind. It keeps all of your bones and joints in correct alignment, which ensures certain muscles are not put under too much pressure. The risks of poor posture include ongoing neck and back pain which can also affect the hips and knees.

Follow these top tips from our qualified chiropractors to try and correct your posture and avoid discomfort.

Image of bad bag carrying postureCarry weight evenly

If you carry a handbag or a briefcase most days, then you could be jeopardising your posture. Constantly carrying a weight on one side of the body and pull certain muscles and joints out of alignment without even realising it. Aim to carry all weight evenly, for instance with a rucksack which equals the weight over both shoulders.

Change your position

Today’s sedentary careers and lifestyles are thought to be to blame for the global epidemic in back pain. Our bodies were not designed to sit still for long period of time, so if you sit behind a desk all day make sure to change your position regularly. Try and get up every twenty minutes and have a walk around to work your muscles, and stretch out when needed.

Take care of your neck

Pain in your neck can throw your whole body off balance, and it is usually caused by repetitive actions. Continually looking down at a smartphone is bad for your neck and because everyone does this regularly, it is hard to persuade people to forget about their phones. Another bad posture deed is holding a phone between your ear and shoulder, so try not to cradle a handset.

Postural correction

If you really want to take steps to improve your posture, and in turn improve your health and wellbeing, you can visit a chiropractor for a postural assessment and correction. A back specialists, chiropractors can evaluate a person’s posture and identify what is out of balance before recommending any treatment. Patients will understand what causes poor posture and learn the best ways to stand and sit.

Everyone is guilty of poor posture sometimes, so why not correct the problem before it turns into a long term issue?

How to Maintain Good Posture

You probably remember as a child being told to “Stop slouching in your chair!” and to “Stand up straight!” At the time it was irritating, but all those years later you’re starting to realise the importance of a good posture.  Poor sitting and standing habits can cause muscle tension and over time, create discomfort and chronic pain illnesses. Bad posture takes a toll on the whole of your body – your spine, neck, shoulders, hips and knees. Actively maintaining a good posture and trying to correct common habits can really help long term health. Read more