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Wearing A Backpack: Five Key Things To Remember

It’s that time of year again, when school is starting back up.  It does not matter if you are going pexels-photo-346833to kindergarten or college, making sure you have the right fit for a backpack is an important thing to consider! The wrong backpack can lead to shoulder pain, back pain, and poor posture.

The following list of “5 Tips for Backpack Safety” highlight the main things you need to look for when deciding on the “perfect” backpack!

 1. The backpack should not be wider or longer than the torso, and should never hang more than 4 inches below the waistline.  If the backpack hangs too low it adds weight to the shoulders causing the wearer to lean forward when walking.

 2. Use both shoulder straps.  Wearing just one strap can lead to an uneven shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle strain, as well as causing pain in the lower back.

 3.The shoulder straps should be padded and adjustable, so the backpack can be fitted to the body.  If the straps are too loose it can cause the backpack to dangle and bounce off the back, and can lead to altered bio mechanics of the spine and shoulders.  If there are hip and chest straps, use them to help transfer some of the weight to the body and not solely in the backpack.

 4. It is important to make sure the weight of the backpack is not more than 10% of the person’s body weight.  If there are multiple compartments, you want to make sure to use them and distribute the weight evenly.

 5. Bigger isn’t always better.  The bigger the backpack, the higher the opportunity to add more weight to the backpack leading to further stress on the body.


If you, your child, or someone you know is having some issues because of the wrong backpack, we would like to invite you to stop by the office for a backpack assessment and postural evaluation!


Dr. Nick Knaup