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OrthoArizona has 70 premier musculoskeletal specialists. The orthopedic surgeons and primary care physicians specialize in all areas of orthopedic care including sports, medicine, spine, shoulder and elbow, hand and wrist, hip and knee, foot and ankle, podiatry, trauma, industrial injuries and workers’ compensation.

Back Saving Backpack Tips

Backpacks are extremely convenient for students of all ages, as well as working and active adults. However, they can also be damaging to the health of your back. It is essential to take the proper steps and precautions when wearing a backpack to ensure you are reducing extra strain on the back, which could lead to long-term issues. Below are helpful tips that are recommended to follow when using a backpack.

Know when your backpack is causing problems

It is important to pay attention to the warning signs you may feel when wearing a backpack. It is also important for parents to ask their children about their back every so often to ensure that their children aren’t straining their young and developing back. Here are some warning signs that can show your backpack is causing issues:

  • Painful and aching shoulders, neck, and/or back
  • Weakened muscles
  • Poor posture
  • Tingling in arms or legs

If you or your child start to notice these symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor to make sure serious damage hasn’t already been made.

Choose the backpack with the right design

Here are some things you should look for when purchasing a backpack:

  • Extra adding behind the back
  • Adjustable shoulder straps that are at least 2 inches wide
  • Canvas material (leather can add unnecessary weight)
  • Individual compartments to ensure weight is being evenly distributed
  • A hip strap or weight belt that can add extra carrying support
  • Consider wheels: pulling instead of carrying.

Wear the backpack properly

If you purchase the correct backpack, consider the features that are meant to be used to ensure your back health is staying in good shape. Here are some ways to take advantage of what your backpack has to offer to ensure proper use:

  • Put the heaviest object in the compartment closest to the back. Put the item in first so that it is resting against your back. This will ensure less weight is being pulled towards the front.
  • Ensure you always wear both straps at the same time. Avoid wearing only one shoulder strap.
  • Evenly distribute weight in the different compartments. Avoid putting all your materials in just one compartment.
  • Adjust your straps appropriately: the backpack should sit 2 inches above your waist, and the top should be right below the base of your skull.
  • If you need to lean forward to relieve pressure from your back, then your backpack is too heavy. Avoid leaning while walking and take the proper steps to remove weight from your backpack.
  • Put strangely shaped or sharp objects in compartments away from your back to ensure they are not pressing directly into your back.
  • When lifting your backpack, take advantage of your leg muscles and lift with your thighs and hips. Do not use only your back to lift your backpack.
  • Your backpack should not weigh more than 10% of your weight. Keep your backpack as light as possible.
  • For heavier items, consider carrying them or using a separate bag.

Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today

Are you suffering from back pain? Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has 21 offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.