The Backpack Guide: What to look for and how to wear them!

Back to school season is upon us, and you might be in the search for a new backpack for yourself or for your children. We would like to share this Backpack Guide to help you make better choices for backpacks to help keep your spine and joints healthy and pain-free.

Backpack Guide: Backpacks are great if used correctly

Backpacks are a practical way for students to carry books and supplies.  They are designed to redistribute load through some of the bigger and stronger muscles of the body. But, more often than not, backpacks are heavier than they should be. The increased weight of it’s contents can put extra stress on your spine. Furthermore, if they are not worn correctly, they can also put a lot of pressure and strain through the joints and muscles of your body. This can lead to back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain.

There are many different aspects of a backpack that should be considered before choosing one. For example, did you know that a waist strap can help distribute the weight of the bag more evenly? Another key point to remember includes limiting the weight of the backpack to about 10% of your body weight. Backpacks have been linked to postural problems, but they have not been shown to cause scoliosis.

A Recent Review on Backpack Design

A recent review of backpack design was published in July of 2021. Here are some of their key findings:

  • The contents of backpacks vary too much to allow a consistent centre of mass to be determined
  • Swaying of the backpack going from side to side should be minimized, as this would shift the centre of mass and therefore put uneven stresses on the structures of the back
  • A wider shoulder strap should be utilized, together with hip straps, as this helps to more evenly distribute weight
  • Single-strap pack should be avoided, as this creates an imbalance in weight distribution

Check out this article by the Canadian Chiropractic Association for more information on how to choose the right backpack and how to wear them properly!

If you are experiencing some pain or have questions about backpacks, click here to book an appointment!

Happy Studying!