Backpacks have been a staple of human society for centuries. They provide a convenient way to carry items while leaving your hands free to do other things. But as convenient as they may be, backpacks have also been linked to back pain, especially when used improperly. In this post, we will explore the relationship between backpacks and back pain, and discuss how you can avoid or alleviate back pain caused by backpacks.
What Causes Back Pain?
Before we dive into the specifics of backpacks and back pain, let’s first understand what causes back pain. The most common cause of back pain is an injury, such as a strained or pulled muscle, or a herniated disc. Poor posture and repetitive strain can also lead to back pain, as can conditions such as arthritis, scoliosis, and osteoporosis.
Back pain can also be caused by the weight and distribution of items in a backpack. When a backpack is not fitted properly or overloaded, the weight can cause strain on the back muscles, ligaments, and spine.
Backpacks and Back Pain – What’s the Connection?
Backpacks have become increasingly popular among students and travelers alike. From textbooks and laptops to water bottles and snacks, backpacks can hold everything you need for a day out or a long journey. But, if you’re not careful, your backpack could be causing you more harm than good.
Wearing a backpack that is too heavy or fitted improperly can push the body out of its natural alignment. This can lead to a variety of problems, including lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and even headaches. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics found that students who carried backpacks weighing more than 20% of their body weight had a higher likelihood of developing back pain.
So, how can you tell if your backpack is causing you back pain? Here are a few signs to look out for:
You have pain in your neck, shoulders, or back after carrying a backpack for an extended period.
You feel fatigued or achy after carrying a backpack.
Your backpack feels heavy even when it’s not fully loaded.
How to Choose the Right Backpack
Choosing the right backpack can go a long way in preventing and alleviating back pain. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting a backpack:
Size: Try to choose a backpack that is appropriate for your body size. A backpack that is too big or too small can cause unnecessary strain on your back.
Straps: The straps on a backpack should be adjustable and padded to provide maximum comfort. Look for backpacks with wider straps to distribute the weight evenly.
Weight: Don’t try to carry more than 15% to 20% of your body weight in a backpack.
Design: Choose a backpack with multiple compartments to distribute the weight evenly. This will prevent heavy items from shifting around and causing strain on your back.
Tips for Carrying a Backpack Without Back Pain
Once you’ve selected the right backpack, here are a few tips to help you avoid back pain while wearing it:
Use both straps: Carrying a backpack with just one strap can lead to uneven weight distribution, which can result in back pain.
Adjust the straps: Straps that are too loose or too tight can cause unnecessary strain on your back. Adjust the straps so the backpack sits snugly against your back.
Pack wisely: Heavier items should be placed closer to your back and lighter items towards the outside. This will distribute the weight evenly and prevent strain.
Take breaks: If you’re carrying a heavy backpack for an extended period, take breaks to rest your back and stretch your muscles.
Exercise: Regular exercise, particularly core strengthening exercises, can help prevent back pain associated with backpacks.
Backpacks can be a convenient way to carry items while on the go, but they can also be a source of back pain if not used properly. By choosing the right backpack, adjusting the straps, packing wisely, and taking breaks, you can avoid or alleviate back pain caused by backpacks. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to back pain – take care of your back and it will take care of you.