Backpacks are one of the most convenient bags you can use because they distribute the weight evenly at your back as opposed to using one-shoulder bags. They are also very handy as it frees your hand for other purposes while carrying something on your back. However, when not used properly, backpacks are as damaging as other types of bags, sending you straight to your Land O Lakes chiropractor for relief.
Children are the usual ones to use backpacks and inappropriate use can harm their delicate bodies. If you are concerned about your back health or the safety of the kids, the following are the tips to use backpacks safely:
- Get the right backpack
When choosing a backpack, never rely merely on the design because the most attractive design may not be the safest for you or to children. Make sure to get a size that is appropriate for your body. The bottom of the back should only be until the level of the waist. Getting a bigger bag that rests on the buttocks area can hurt your lower back. Also, choose one that has a wide strap (about t 2 to 3 inches) to avoid hurting the shoulder area. The straps should also be padded and not sharp on the edges as sharp edges may injure the soft tissues around it and may make the shoulder area sore. Also, get something that has a waist strap for added weight support.
- Limit the things you bring on your backpack
The maximum weight of the content of the backpack should only be up to 15% of the total body weight or else you will be carrying more than what your body can safely carry. Pack lightly and only bring those that you really need.
- Limit the time you carry a backpack
Backpacks are not meant to be carried along your back the whole day. Limit carrying it to at most 30 minutes at a time. Make sure to remove the backpack when you don’t need to be carrying it to lessen the load on your back.
- Adjust the straps evenly
The shoulder straps should be adjusted in such a way that one is not shorter or longer than the other. This ensures that both shoulders carry weight evenly and will prevent soreness on the shoulder area where the strap is shorter. Also, adjust the strap so the lower end is in line with the waist area or just above the buttocks and not way below it. A low set backpack may pull the shoulder backwards affecting the posture and balance.
- Carry properly
When putting the bag on your back, put the bag at the level of your legs. Bend at your knees facing the bag. Put one strap in one shoulder and another strap on the other shoulder. Stand while pushing your legs against the floor to lift the weight. This ensures that you don’t bend your back and avoid hurting your lumbar spine.
- Use the straps appropriately
Never carry the backpack in one shoulder as this can strain the area around the arms, shoulders and neck. Also make sure that you use the waist strap to distribute weight evenly and support your lower spine.
Backpacks are essential tools especially for children, but make sure that you carry them properly to prevent injuries.