A backpack can be a great way for a child or teenager to carry their school supplies and you will also find that many adults use backpacks to carry things in various situations. In many ways, backpacks are better than other types of carrying cases and bags because they are designed to distribute the weight more evenly throughout the body. However, injuries related to backpack use are quite common among people that use them regularly. For most injuries, it is not backpack use that is the problem. The problems come from either misuse or the use of a backpack that is poorly designed.
Picking a backpack
To start with, you want to pick a backpack that is right for the individual. If you are buying a backpack for a child, you want to make sure that it is the appropriate size for their body. If it is too big, it will pull the child’s shoulders back and this will cause them to compensate by bending forward at the hips or by arching their back. This will compress the spine in ways that are unnatural and it can lead to back pain.
You also want to look at certain design features of the backpack. With more compartments, it will be easier to distribute the weight evenly in the pack. Additionally, you want to look for a backpack that has nice wide straps and padding on the straps.
Wearing the backpack
Many people that wear backpacks do not wear or carry them in the correct way. When you wear the pack correctly, it distributes the weight better and it limits the amount of pressure that is put on any one section of the spine, but if you wear it improperly, it will put more pressure on some sections of the back or cause the person to carry the weight with an unnatural posture.
You want to make sure that you wear the pack using both shoulder straps. The single strap method that many people use is bad for the back and it can cause problems with the shoulder on the carrying side. You also want to keep the straps tight. Your body will handle the weight best when it is close to the body.
Loading the backpack
The loading of the backpack will also make a difference. The first thing to consider is the amount of weight in the backpack in relation to the weight of the wearer. The physical condition of the individual does make a difference, but for children, you probably do not want the pack to exceed 15% of the child’s bodyweight and for an adult that is in good physical condition, going to about 20% should be alright.
You also want to make sure that the items are loaded into the pack correctly. Aim for as even a load as possible, using the different compartments to distribute the weight. Additionally, you want to try to keep the heavier items nearest to the part of the pack that is going to close to the body.
As a final tip, just try to do things to take care of yourself better. A person that is fit and healthy will always be able to deal with a burden better than a person that is not. A healthy diet and some exercise to strengthen the stabilizing muscles in the body will help any person to reduce their risk of injury in all of the things that they do.