It’s almost back-to-school time, and that means school supplies and backpacks. You want to make sure you have everything for a great educational experience, but you may fail to consider your risk of strain and injury from a heavy backpack. Here are some ways to avoid a backpack injury.
Ensure a Proper Fit
The Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that at least 7,800 kids were sent to the ER for backpack-related injuries in 2017. The main cause was backpacks that were too heavy or didn’t fit properly. A study on college students showed heavy backpacks also increased the risk of pedestrian accidents.
Choose a backpack that fits snugly, conforming to the body, and make sure it has a waist strap for increased support. Readjust straps depending on how much you’re carrying and distribute the weight evenly by using both shoulder straps rather than one.
Seek the Right Size
There are hundreds of sizes and styles of backpacks in stores and online, and this can make narrowing down a choice challenging. Check for weight limits based on your size. A backpack that can carry more will be heavier for smaller bodies, which could trigger neck and shoulder strain. This could also cause back pain and arthritis later in life.
Must Evenly Distribute Weight
An ill-fitting backpack may sway side-to-side or cause a lopsided load, which can lead to strained muscles. When loading the backpack, don’t over-pack and keep heavy items at the bottom. Avoid placing weighted, loose items on the sides or top of the pack.
Heavier items, such as textbooks and school projects, can be carried. Keeping good posture at all times and not bending at the waist with a backpack on can reduce strain and injury as well.
Prevent the Worsening of Underlying Medical Conditions
Pressure or strain on your back can worsen certain underlying medical problems. This could trigger inflammation and make pain worse. Repetitive backpack use can lead to or worsen:
- Scoliosis, or distortion of the spine’s natural curve.
- Arthritis and other conditions affecting the joints.
- Poor posture.
- Rounded shoulders.
- Feelings of pins, needles and numbness.
- Other skeletal conditions and disorders.
Seek medical attention for ongoing issues that don’t resolve with icing the area and discontinuing backpack use. For most people, acute strains from backpacks resolve over time with rest.
It’s important to keep your back safe and healthy. Stretching muscles before putting on the backpack may help prevent muscle tightness and strain. You deserve to enjoy your school day and not have any pain and discomfort from the experience.
~Here’s to Your Success!
Copyright 2019, HigherEducating.com