We begin carrying a backpack at a very young age! This can negatively affect your spine if it is too heavy or not positioned properly.
Researchers recommend that your backpack weighs no more than 10% of your bodyweight. This goes for kids in elementary school all the way through adulthood. So if you weigh 100 pounds, your backpack should weigh 10 pounds max.
How to know if your backpack is too heavy:
- It’s hard to put on and take off.
- You feel a strain on your neck or shoulders.
- Marks are left on your neck and shoulders after wearing it.
- Your posture changes.
Heavy backpacks can cause compression of discs in your spine and deterioration of the lumbar region as well as damage the soft tissue in your shoulders which can actually lead to nerve damage. This will hurt your posture!
How to lighten your load:
- Don’t let your backpack sag towards your butt. Keep it against your back.
- Always wear both straps!
- Pack only what you need.
- Use a backpack with wheels.
- Put the heaviest items in the center of your backpack to evenly distribute the weight.
Backpacks are a great way to carry your books, gear, or lunches around but make sure you are keeping your back safe and happy! Back pain at any age is not normal.