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5 Tips to Prevent Backpack Injuries

Woman pained by carrying backpack

Students and sportsman often both rely on a singular item that ties them both together, the backpack.  When most of us were in school, both as children and as college students, we knew that our life lived and died by the contents of our backpack.  Whether it was used to contain merely pencils and paper or the entire collection of our textbooks and electronics devices, these humble canvas companions were responsible for keeping us on task and staying successful at our educational goals.  Hikers and backpackers also rely heavily on these articles to contain everything they need to enjoy the trail and survive time spent camping in the wilderness. At the Botha Chiropractic Dr. Bryan Foss has been helping patients protect their backs and enjoy their hobbies by educating on the dangers and benefits of backpacks.

Ensure Your Backpack Is Secure!
When you’re rushing from class to class it’s tempting to sling your backpack over one shoulder to save time.  Unfortunately, this means that you’re not getting the most out of your backpack, and in fact can be causing yourself to take injuries by unbalancing your load.  Take a moment to slip your backpack over both shoulders and secure down the arms to ensure that your educational load only strains your mind, not your back and muscles.  The design of backpacks is what makes them infinitely superior to satchels and suitcases, even better than purses, as it ensures that the weight of your load is distributed evenly across your back!

Don’t Overload Yourself!
Another major mistake made by backpackers, both students and recreational enthusiasts alike, is overloading your backpack.  A backpack can definitely increase the amount you’re capable of carrying, but if it weighs more than 15% of your body weight you’re asking for trouble.  This is easier to avoid in older and larger backpackers, but when you’re dealing with young school-age children there isn’t as much leeway in their load.  As a rule of thumb, your backpack should only weigh 3 pounds for each 20 pounds of your weight. Needless to say in a child under 100 pounds that doesn’t leave much room for books and school supplies!

Only Carry What You Need
As an extension of the above, you should keep your load down to only what you actually need.  Encourage your children to make use of their lockers at school, and to empty their school bag of any unneeded items when they get home.  This is true for adult students and children alike, we often accumulate an abundance of things we don’t actually need during our time at school. This often happens when we get lazy and try to make sure we’re carrying everything for every class, even if we don’t attend them every day.

If you’re preparing for a big backpacking trip or have children entering school this year, stop in at the Botha Chiropractic and schedule an appointment with Dr. Bryan Foss.  During your appointment, you can get an examination to make sure your spine is healthy, as well as get advice on how to properly pack and carry your backpack to ensure it stays that way!