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Stopping Backpack Pain

- By Greenshoot Media

Backpacks are a great way for students to get their stuff around school and to their activities.

However, improperly used, backpacks can cause kids back problems. The weight of a backpack worn the wrong way can pull you backward, causing people wearing them to lean forward, stressing their shoulders, neck and back.

And if you toss the backpack over one shoulder, you’ll lean to the side to offset the weight, harming your back, shoulders and neck. Heavy packs can also cause people to fall, particular­ly on stairs or in other places where the large pack throws the wearer off balance.

Signs Your Backpack is a Problem

Nemours Teens Health says that if you struggle to take your backpack on and off, lean forward to carry your pack or have back pain, it might be a problem. You may also experience tingling, numbness or weakness in your arms or hands.

How to Properly Wear a Backpack

Pick a pack that has two padded back straps that go over both shoulders. Avoid messenger bags, which concentrat­e the weight on one side of your body. The wider your backpack’s straps, the better, and even better if it comes with a waist belt, which can help spread the weight out across your body.

Backpacks should be lightweigh­t and have multiple compartmen­ts to help distribute the weight. You should also work as much as you can to lighten your load. Use a bathroom scale to make sure the backpack isn’t more than 10%20% of your body weight. Use school lockers or cubbies to leave some books behind instead of carrying a whole day’s worth of work with you.

Pack the heaviest items closest to your back and don’t just shove everything in the main compartmen­t. Side pockets can also help spread the weight out. Wear the straps tight enough for the backpack to fit close to the body, in the middle of your back. It shouldn’t sag down to your butt. Pick up the backpack with both hands and lift with your legs.

Strengthen Your Muscles

Weight training, pilates and yoga are all effective in strengthen­ing muscles to help you carry your backpack and eliminate pain. Work on stretching every morning and evening and exercise regularly.

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