Before you go out and purchase that slick and stylish new backpack, be cautious of the possible health hazards young people incur from carrying oversized and heavy backpacks.
- Backpacks of the average middle schooler weigh 18.4 pounds
- Heavy backpacks can lead to back/neck pain and poor posture
Table Of Contents
- Why Heavy Backpacks Are Bad
- Preventative Measures
- Exercises to help Posture
Why Heavy Backpacks Are Bad
It’s that time, again, when students begin shaking off the sand and gearing up for the new school year. First, on the list is buying new clothes and shoes that fit after a summer of growth. Next: a new backpack; one that has plenty of room to accommodate school supplies and a stack of books.
- Back, shoulder, and neck pain
- Muscle strain and stiffness limiting functionality
- Joint misalignment affecting posture and gait
- Spinal disc compression causing numbness, and possible nerve damage.
SIGNS OF PHYSICAL STRESS:
- Strain or Pain in the neck, shoulder, and/or back.
- Forward head and shoulder posture
- Unnatural spine curvature
- Make sure the backpack is the right size! No wider or longer than the user’s torso.
- Has wide, padded shoulder straps and preferably a waist strap.
- Secure the shoulder straps & waist belt so that the backpack is firmly secured and has no swing.
- Limit the weight of the contents to no more than 10 percent of the user’s body weight.
- Place the heaviest objects at the bottom.
- Never wear the backpack on just one shoulder.
- Exercises that maintain muscle, joint, and nerve alignment.
- Removal of unnecessary items and those that can be left at home or at school.
- Use a rolling backpack.
The consequences associated with Forward Head Posture (FHP) include:
- Compression of the loading on tissues in the cervical spine, especially the facet joints ( the connections between the bones of the spine) and ligaments.
- Weakening of respiratory muscles
- Impaired balance
- Increased stress on the shoulders
Once you’ve done a self-assessment of your daily habits you realize the importance of activating Postural practices that will set you on a path of productive and positive postural alignment. To counteract the negative effects of poor daily anatomical habits, the following Postural Tools and Exercises are instrumental:
Watch the exercise video below
10 minutes daily
Stand on the Posture Board with your head, shoulders, hips, and feet touching a wall. This will ensure postural alignment by balancing the body’s weight vertically and horizontally on all weight-bearing joints.
A simple, yet effective exercise for students to maintain their natural anatomical posture.