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Heavy Backpacks and Chiropractic Care

By Paul Rothbart

The backpack is a handy little item. It allows you to carry a load of useful items while keeping your hands free. It has always been standard issue in the military and a dedicated hiker is never without one. In the 1970s, they caught on with students and are still the most popular way to carry books and school supplies. As useful as they are, care must be taken not to overload a backpack. They can create pain in the back, neck, and shoulders as well as cause damage. How you load and carry your backpack and knowing when it's too heavy is important to avoid injury. Seeing a chiropractor can also be very helpful.

Proper Use

The most important part of using a backpack is only carrying what you absolutely need. Adding too many extras that are nice to have but not essential will quickly overload you. A backpack with compartments is good because the load won't shift. You want the heaviest items close your back to minimize leverage that can put extra stress on it. Save the area in the front for your lightest items. Always wear your backpack using both straps and keep them snug so the pack does not fall below your hips. Lift with your legs when standing up. 

How to Tell If Your Backpack Is Too Heavy

Carrying an overloaded backpack is asking for trouble. If the load is too heavy, use a bag on wheels. Here are some signs that indicate your pack weighs too much. 

  • Strap marks dug into your shoulders are a clear indication your backpack is way too heavy; the straps should be at least 2 inches wide
  • If you can't stand and walk with proper posture, lighten the load
  • Any tingling or numbness in your arms, hands, or fingers means your pack is too heavy
  • Difficulty putting it on or taking it off is a sign of too much weight
  • Obviously, your backpack is too heavy if you experience pain while wearing it

See a Chiropractor

Even properly carrying a reasonably loaded backpack day after day can cause stress on your body. It can harm your neck, shoulders, and spine, causing subluxations or other problems. Regular chiropractic care can locate and adjust these kinds of problems. It can also help you maintain good posture which can protect your body further. A chiropractor may help you stay strong and healthy and able to carry your backpack when you need to. 

Backpacks are used by many and are a great way to carry a load. But they can be harmful. Care must be taken to use them right and not overload them. If you carry a backpack often, consider a visit to The Joint Chiropractic. No appointment is necessary and you may find that regular chiropractic care helps keep you strong and healthy no matter what you carry.

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

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