Backpacks are extremely convenient for carrying a bunch of things at once. However, many people have learned the hard way that you can’t just throw a backpack on every day and pay no attention to how you’re wearing it. Backpacks can take a serious toll on your back, especially if they’re worn incorrectly. At the Spine Institute of North America, we work hard to make sure spines everywhere are happy, and it’s hard not to dislike backpacks sometimes, because nobody really knows how to wear them right. In our last blog, we discussed the importance of using both straps. In today’s blog, we are going to share some more insights that will keep your backpack helpful and prevent it from harming you (or making your back condition worse).
Don’t Carry More Than 15 percent of Your Body Weight
- …And that’s a generous number. The recommended number is only 10 percent of your body weight. You should absolutely not go over 15 percent. If you do, the weight will actually change your posture, affecting the permanent shape of your spine over time.
- For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should never carry a pack that is more than 22.5 pounds. You can weigh your backpack on your scale at home when you pack up to make sure you’re staying in the safe zone. If your pack is too heavy, try to spread the load to friends or reconsider what you need to bring.
Keep Heavy Items at the Bottom
- If you have to carry a significantly heavy item, put it in your backpack first so it lands at the bottom. This is especially important if you like to travel or hike with a backpack. When you keep those heavy things at the bottom of your backpack, they have less of an impact on the curvature of your spine.
- This is an incredibly important tip for people who wear heavy packs regularly, but it can be very useful for anyone and is always a good rule of thumb.
Making sure you wear that backpack correctly can make all the difference. That being said, we understand that you may not even be able to wear a backpack, and you’re not sure when you last wore one at all. Back pain can narrow your life down to a few small activities, which can be very frustrating and lonely. At the Spine Institute of North America in East Windsor, we have dedicated ourselves to providing revolutionary solutions to back pain. If you suffer, let us help you!