For me, a backpack is an essential accessory that I use every time I leave the house. As most of us think, it is the easiest way to carry around stuff that you need or may need. Unfortunately, after using it for so long almost every day, back pains started to arise. The reason behind all of my back pains was obvious, I was wearing it in a wrong manner.
How should you wear a backpack to prevent back pain?
Wearing your backpack properly is not that hard. You have to adjust it to the perfect height, wear it with both straps, keep a proper posture and you should never overload it. The straps should not be close to the neck, try to keep them as wide as possible.
Also, you should keep it as close as possible to the body and prevent it from swinging.
Keeping a proper posture is very important not to develop back pains. Due to the weight of the backpack, you may tend to bend forward and keeping this bad posture for a long time will result in back pains. Therefore, try to avoid bending, keeping your back straight.
Your chest must be open all the time and you must keep your shoulders back. If your backpack has a waist belt, make sure that you are using it. It will help you to maintain a correct posture and it will also prevent the backpack from swinging.
If the backpack is bumping against your back, then that is a sign that you are wearing it wrong. It is very important to adjust the backpack so the straps won’t be loose. The backpack must be above the waist and it must always stay against your back.
The lower part of the backpack should be at least 1 inch above the waist and the upper part of the backpack should be below the level of the head.
You should never wear a backpack on only one shoulder, as it will not only make you develop a bad posture but also it can cause one-sided pains due to the way the pressure is distributed.
The pressure should be on the hips not on the shoulders. Wearing the backpack on both shoulders keep you maintaining a good posture during walking and protect your spine.
The backpack must be stable on your back. If it is swinging more than the motion that is normally caused by walking then this is another sign that you are wearing it wrong.
The constant movement of the backpack can be harmful to your back as it will be subject to a pressure that constantly changes.
As doctors recommend, you should not carry more than 20% of your weight as an adult and not more than 15% of the weight as a child. However, it is better to be cautious and try to reduce the percentage as much as possible by carrying just what is necessary.
If you have to carry more than 20% of your weight, you should try to carry some of the content into your hands or handbags if possible. It is very important to load the heavier things closer to your back and also try to use all of the backpack’s pocket for better weight distribution.
You can also try to buy a backpack made of lighter materials, for example, you can buy a polyester one instead of a leather one.
Can lifting a backpack cause back pains?
Yes, it can. If a backpack is loaded it does not matter how heavy it is as long as it is heavy enough to put pressure on your spine, lifting it in a wrong manner can result in back pains.
When you lift the backpack all the pressure must be supported by the knees. While the backpack is in front of you, distance your legs, bend the knees and grab the backpack. While lifting, the backpack should be as close as possible to the body.
Does the size of the backpack matters?
Yes, it does. If you have a bigger backpack you may misjudge the number of items and their weight you are putting in. Having a bigger backpack may tempt you to put more stuff inside, ending up with a heavier load than needed or expected.
How to avoid sore shoulders while wearing a backpack?
If you have a backpack that has padded straps, you are lucky. Otherwise, you may need to get a backpack with padded straps or at least get some strap pads that can be attached to your backpack’s straps. Thus, it will be easier for you to maintain a proper posture as you won’t suffer from sore shoulders.
Can oddly shaped objects affect my back if I am carrying them in a backpack?
If you are carrying sharp objects, try to avoid as much as possible to carry them into the backpack. If you have no other option but your backpack, do not put them close to your back and try to wrap them in something that prevents them from cutting or stinging.
You can safely carry them as long as your backpack is not too heavy and sharp objects are not near your back.
If you are trying to carry objects that may not fit in the backpack you can easily use the external pockets of the backpack but keep in mind that you have to distribute the weight evenly across your backpack, so using just the one of the pocket (left or right) for a heavy object may not be a good idea, therefore it may be a better idea to carry it in hands or handbag.
What if I wear my backpack correctly but I still have back pains?
If you respected all the things mentioned above and you still have back pains, then it may not be the backpack that is causing your pains. It may be caused by a sedentary lifestyle due to the lack of physical activity cause the lower back to lose muscle strength and tone.