Your Backpack Could Be the Cause of Back Pain

Sep 01, 2021

Bob Sharma

Do you often use a backpack to carry your belongings when you’re going to and from work? Do you suffer from frequent or intermittent lower back pain?

There is likely a relationship between the backpack you wear and the twinges of pain you feel in your lower back. It’s important to recognize that the backpack you’re using can affect your physical health.

So, we’re going to outline how this can happen and how choosing the right backpack, wearing it properly, and making proper chiropractic adjustments can help to reduce or resolve your lower back pain.

The Relationship Between Backpacks and Lower Back Pain

Studies have shown that backpack use is the leading cause of back pain amongst school children and university students. Of course, this is just as applicable to adults who wear backpacks. Lower back pain has primarily been connected to backpacks that weigh more than 15% of a person’s total body mass, or to prolonged and consistent use.

Backpacks that are too heavy, are worn for too long, and are not worn properly can force the body into unnatural positions and postures. This is because you will usually arch your back or bend forward while walking to allow yourself to move comfortably.

This leads to spinal compression, which forces the muscles around the spine to overcompensate. It can lead to muscle strain and eventual pain in your back, and sometimes your neck and shoulders.

Tips for Choosing the Right Backpack

Sometimes, relieving your back pain can be as simple as choosing a different kind of backpack. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re choosing the best backpack to avoid further stress.

Choose one that fits you properly: Don’t ever use a backpack that is either wider or longer than your torso. This makes it easier to ensure that you won’t overpack and carry more than your body should.

Make sure it has a waist strap: A waist strap will ensure that the weight of your backpack is distributed evenly at the center of your body.

Buy a bag with multiple compartments: A bag with only one central compartment means the weight of its contents will be centered there, particularly at your lower back. It’s a good idea to buy a bag with compartments of different sizes in different areas so that the weight will be distributed more evenly across the bag.

Ensure it has sturdy back padding: Backpacks with this feature may be more expensive, but back padding is essential because it provides support and comfort for your back.

Go for a bag made of lighter material: In general, avoid backpacks made of heavier materials. It may not seem like a lot, but heavier material really can contribute to the weight of what you carry, adding further pressure to your back and spine.

Avoid satchels and hand-held bags: The weight of these bags is often not distributed evenly across the shoulders. This imbalance can put further strain on your back muscles.

Avoid roller bags: Roller bag handles often are not long enough for you to carry along while walking normally. Trying to accommodate the height of the bag can lead to improper posture, which results in lower back pain if the bag is used often enough.

Tips for Wearing Your Backpack Correctly

There are also a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to wearing your backpack. These can help you to prevent back pain and further issues.

Always carry your backpack on both shoulders: Carrying your backpack on one shoulder causes postural deviation, which puts you at risk of increased back pain in the future.

Pack your bag properly: Always pack your bag with the heavier items at the bottom and middle of the bag and the lighter items on top.

Make sure your straps are always tightened properly: This keeps the weight closer to your back, relieving weight on your shoulder muscles and allowing you to better control your movements while walking.

Check the weight of your bag: the load you carry in your backpack should never weigh more than 10% of your weight. You should try to keep your backpack at 5% of your weight or less.

Book an Appointment Today

Though the tips above help avoid back pain, they won’t do anything to heal the pain you’re already feeling. If your backpack-wearing habits have already caused you some physical stress, don’t panic. You should simply consult your local chiropractor to help diagnose and treat any related issues.

If you’re looking for a reliable and qualified team of chiropractors in Vancouver, look no further than Park Place Clinic. We offer state-of-the-art treatments for advanced spinal correction and chiropractic adjustments. Just give us a call at +(604) 646-6699 or book an appointment online.