Backpacks are one of the most useful bags you can bring because they are spacious enough to fit all your essential things. They are perfect for students, travelers, and adventure seekers because they are very easy to bring. However, one of the problems with using a backpack is that it can develop back and shoulder pains, especially if they are heavy and are carried the wrong way.
Most of the time, people carry more weight than they should, and they carry backpacks in ways that are not healthy. If you are using a backpack often, or maybe you have a child that carries a backpack every day to school, then you need to know how to wear a backpack safely. That’s why today, we are going to give you tips on how to wear backpacks the right way to prevent back and shoulder pain.
Injuries that Backpacks Can Cause
Before we go to the tips, let us know first the injuries you can get from not wearing backpacks properly.
The discs on our backs provide cushioning and flexibility in the spine since the spine is composed of vertebrae separated by spinal discs. However, these discs are only capable of carrying so much weight. This means that if your backpack is too heavy, it can result in disc compression and possible tearing of the disc.
If you carry a backpack over one shoulder every day, this can cause your body to alter its alignment and make your muscles imbalanced. This can also cause different problems, such as changing the way you walk and increasing wear on your spine.
When backpacks are carried incorrectly, it can cause misalignments in the spine. If the misalignment has too much pressure, it can lead to a pinched nerve.
How to Wear Backpacks to Prevent Pain
Here are some of the best tips we can give on wearing backpacks to avoid having back and shoulder pains.
1. Do Not Put Too Many Things in Your Backpack
When using a backpack, the recommended percentage of your body weight ranges from ten to fifteen percent. For example, if you weigh 100 lbs., you should not carry a backpack that is more than 15 lbs. You need to keep it just around ten percent. The more you carry more than the recommended weight, the more risk of injury you are giving your back.
Therefore, when using a backpack, only take what you need. It is very easy to store items in your backpack without realizing how many things you have. To prevent carrying too much weight, make sure to examine the things in your backpack regularly to make sure that you are only taking what you need.
2. Use Both Straps of Your Backpack
Backpacks are designed to be carried using the two straps they have. Therefore, you should see to it that you always wear both shoulder straps instead of slinging your backpack with one strap on only one shoulder. When you use both straps, the weight of your backpack will be distributed evenly across your shoulders, minimizing the risk of injury or excessive wear.
3. Adjust the Straps of Your Backpack Properly
Make sure to adjust the shoulder straps of your backpack so that it’s high on your back and comfortable on your shoulders. However, the backpack shouldn’t extend past your waist. It should just ride an inch or more above your hips. If you are wearing different thicknesses of clothing, make sure to readjust the shoulder straps so that they are not too loose or too tight.
If your backpack comes with a waist or chest strap, make sure to use it because they can help distribute the weight load to the hips, hence, relieving the pressure on the shoulders. Aside from that, it also helps keep the shoulder straps in place, and it will reduce the swaying of the backpack when you walk.
4. Pay Attention to Your Child’s Backpack
If you have a child that uses a backpack when going to school, it’s important that you monitor how heavy his or her backpack is, and if it is properly worn. Kids also need to follow the same tips as adults for wearing a backpack.
You can help your child lighten his or her backpack if you notice that it is heavy. But if you cannot lighten the load enough, maybe your child can use a rolling backpack instead. A backpack that has a waist strap is also great for kids, especially when the load is over ten percent of your child’s weight as it can help distribute the weight evenly.
For kids, the shoulder straps should be broad and padded. Adjust the straps so that the backpack will be close to your child’s body. Also, avoid putting sharp objects at the back of the backpack, such as books so that the edges will not poke into the back. When organizing your child’s backpack, make sure that the heaviest items are closest to the center to reduce swaying when wearing it.
5. Carrying Backpacks Properly When Hiking
Hiking is another activity where most of us use backpacks to carry our things. The same rule will apply. Your backpack should not weigh more than ten percent of your body weight when it’s fully loaded. But if you will be backpacking for an overnight or multi-day hike, your backpack should not weigh more than twenty percent of your body.
If you will be carrying higher backpack weight, it’s recommended that you wear hiking boots and use trekking poles as well for extra support and stability. If you’re not yet used to carrying a heavy backpack, you need to start with a lighter load first and then gradually increase the load weight to train your muscles on your next backpacking trips.
These are some of the best ways we can recommend so that you’ll be ready to wear backpacks without causing pain. By following these tips, you will be able to wear your backpack daily without worrying about back and shoulder aches when you get home.