Why in the world are kids carrying around 20 lb textbooks in their backpacks when everything has the ability to be digital?
Don’t even get me started!
Suffice it to say, they are, and it’s a pain in the back…and neck, and shoulders. The strain of continuous use of over-weighted backpacks is significant and can contribute to a multitude of issues such as:
- A strain on muscles
- Muscle fatigue
- Compression of the spine
- Misalignment of the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips
- Pain in the neck, head, shoulders, and back
- Poor posture
- Pinching of the nerves
- An increased vulnerability to injury
Tips on wearing a backpack correctly:
- Wear both shoulder straps to distribute the weight equally across the back. Even if it doesn’t look as cool or is as convenient as wearing it on one shoulder.
- If your backpack has a waist belt, which it should, use it. The waist belt will transfer some of the weight from your shoulders to the stronger muscles of your pelvis and legs.
- Lighten it when possible. If you can get your hands on an electronic copy, do. If you have to use a heavier-than-the world textbook, inquire whether you can have a copy to keep at home and one to use at school.
- Ask if your school allows you to use a rolling backpack. Sometimes you can use one if you have a doctor’s note.
How to manage backpack strain:
- Chiropractic. Chiropractic will help keep the spine aligned to prevent and resolve pain and dysfunction created by backpack use.
- Massage. Keeping the muscles long and relaxed with massage therapy can help reduce tension in muscles and reduce strain on the joints.
- Cold therapy. Decreasing inflammation from muscle and joint strain can be achieved by using a cold pack for 20 minutes at a time with 40 minutes of rest between applications. Remember to protect the skin from freezer burn.
- Magnesium. A natural muscle relaxant, magnesium when taken at night can help the muscles relax and function better.
- Far and near infrared sauna. This kind of heat can penetrate the muscle more effectively than hot packs and can increase circulation to the area that needs more oxygen and nutrients from the strain.
- Yoga and stretching. Elongate the shortened muscles with gentle, fluid movement.
Backpacks are a necessary evil when it comes to school. You can find the one I recommend here. Do your best to wear them properly and treat your spine, muscles, and joints well before and after.
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5 responses to “Easing Backpack Strain”
FOR THOSE WHO WEAR BACK PACKS AND DON’T LIKE THE WEIGHT OF BINOCULARS OR A CAMERA HANGING FROM A NECK STRAP, WE HAVE A NEW SYSTEM THAT WILL CLIP TO THE EDGE OF THE PACK STRAP OR THE ‘D-RINGS’ ON THE PACK STRAPS. ALL THE WEIGHT OF THE BINOCULARS OR CAMERA IS THEN CARRIED BY THE SHOULDER STRAPS, NOT YOUR NECK. QUICK-RELEASE BUCKLES ALLOW FOR EASY ON AND OFF AND THE ALLIGATOR STYLE CLIPS STAY ATTACHED TO THE PACK. THE ALLIGATOR CLIPS CAN BE REMOVED AND MOVED TO ANOTHER PACK AT ANY TIME.
Thanks for the recommendation Laura. Not sure why your comment is all in caps.
It is so important to get a backpack that doesn’t kill your back – especially in school when you are always carrying it around. I remember that I always used to carry my backpack on one shoulder and it was like the worst thing ever for my back.
Anyhow, I started using small backpacks so that I am forced to pack light. I got a really cute one from that http://bestbackpack.com/ site. However, not everybody can use a small backpack I suppose… Anyways I still get back problems (now it is due to my work chair) and I am going to try taking some Magnesium supplements.
Thanks for the info.
Thanks for the back pack recommendation Ashley. Magnesium is a great muscle relaxant when in citrate or glycinate forms. Try to avoid magnesium oxide. Good luck with resolving your back pain. Try chiropractic;)
I am greatful to have find your page about pilates in reigate. Pilates in Reigate helped me to improve my posture and reduce the risk of strain and injury. They are awesome in building mental physical stamina and improve concentration. Thank you.