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Backpack Pain Busted!

By Brandi Goodman 

School starts up soon, and that means daily backpack carrying is close. If you (or your child) tend to experience pain in your shoulders or back from carrying your backpack, you just may be doing it wrong. There's a certain way to use it that will help to prevent discomfort and keep your body feeling good. 

Use Both Straps

One of the best ways to prevent back pain from backpack use is to use both straps. Never drape one strap over a shoulder. It will cause an uneven weight distribution that will hold the body down more than necessary on one side. You may notice discomfort in that particular shoulder and even down your side and in your back and hip because of it.

Switch Sides With a Messenger Bag

Perhaps a messenger bag is the style you carry. That's fine, as long as you're switching the side your bag sits on periodically. Wearing it across the shoulder to one side is safer than draping one strap of a backpack over your arm. The weight sits lower, at your hips, and doesn't weigh down the shoulder. This still causes uneven weight distribution that you need to be wary about, though. Wearing it to one side for a little while and then switching it to the other can help with this problem.

Get a Bag With a Waist Strap

Some backpacks come with an added waist strap. This helps even more with the distribution of the weight inside the bag over your body. With both straps over your shoulders and the waist strap around you, your bag should hold steady without you having to worry about pain.

Adjust Your Straps

A problem can arise for your shoulders and lower back if your bag sits too low. Having both shoulder straps utilized will do no good if the backpack isn't high up and in the proper position. Allowing it to sit low will cause all of that weight to hang. Adjust your straps accordingly so the bag is sitting at the appropriate height -- between your shoulders, against your upper back -- and not tugging your shoulders down.

Backpack pain can be busted for good when you keep these tips in mind. Don't be afraid of daily backpack use. Find ways to make the bag easier and lighter to carry so you can attend school without the worry of daily discomfort.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Avon, Ind.

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