Back to School – How to wear your backpack correctly

The start of a new year means long, hot days as well as back to school and work for many children and adults. More and more of us are carrying heavier backpacks or wearing our backpacks incorrectly which places undue stress and strain onto the spine. Many people do not use both shoulder straps and have the backpack sitting lower than the hips and pelvis which creates increased pressure and tension from the neck to the pelvis.

Decreased or aberrant movement in the cervical and thoracic regions has been linked to forward head carriage and other postural syndromes. Just once centimetre of forward displacement of the skull on the upper neck can generate the equivalent of 2kg of force onto the upper spine. Increased pressure into the cervical and thoracic spinal regions can contribute to neck and shoulder pain, headaches and decreased rib expansion with breathing.

It is vitally important to ensure that everyone; in particular children and teenagers are not carrying loads that are too heavy for their size and putting too much pressure onto their developing skeletal and nervous systems. By having the accurate size and proper fit of a backpack it can reduce some of this associated discomfort.

Some handy tips include:

  • wearing both shoulder straps and the chest strap (if possible) to allow both shoulders to remain level and reduce tension into the neck
  • making sure that the bottom of the backpack is sitting just above or on the hips/ pelvic bones and not below to balance the load across the whole spine
  • reducing the weight as much as possible by getting rid of non-essential items

Make sure your spine is properly aligned and moving correctly in order to reduce pain, improve posture and keep you feeling great for the year to come.

For a free postural assessment over the school holidays, please book an appointment by calling 3491 6533.