Backpacking Our Way Back to School… and Beyond
September marks the beginning of the school year here in Buffalo- and the beginning of some fun travel adventures for hikers and backpackers! New teachers, maybe some new classmates and friends, new school supplies… and new backpacks! One of the most exciting parts of the changing seasons and anticipation of travel is choosing a new backpack, but remember that all of those books, binders, laptops and more can add a lot of weight on your child’s growing spine. In fact, did you know that 18 pounds or more may create a temporary side-to-side curve on the spine? Read on to learn more about finding a backpack that ticks all the boxes for you or your favorite student.
One of the most common problems we see is students trying to stuff as many books, papers, and binders into their backpacks as possible. This is not only detrimental to the longevity of your backpack… but can be seriously harmful to your back, neck and spine!
Our first tip for helping with both of these issues is to reduce the amount of weight carried in the backpack and redistributing to other parts of the body. If you are able, carry some of your books, your purse or your laptop in your hands so that the weight of your backpack behind you is more even with the weight of your items in front of you. Try centering the weight of your pack from the left side to the right side as well. These two steps can work wonders on keeping your posture and your spinal carriage balanced proportionately. Your spine will thank you!
Organization is key
How often do you just throw everything in your backpack without thinking? While this may help save time, it can ultimately be harmful. Stuffing things into your backpack any which way can cause an uneven distribution of weight which may pull down on your back and shoulders, or lay against your lumbar spine, in an unnatural way.
While a chiropractic adjustment can help relieve this pressure, our preventative recommendation is to pack your bag with the heaviest items closest to your back. By having the bigger, heavier textbooks or laptop closest to your center of gravity, you can really eliminate some of the strain on your back and shoulders.
All strapped in
Backpacks generally have two straps, one for each arm, and some even come with a strap that you can buckle around your waist. Though it may look “cool” to sling one strap on your arm, our advice is to wear all of the straps- they’re there for a reason! If you haven’t noticed yet, the best way to wear your backpack properly is to make sure all the weight is distributed evenly. Even if you balanced your bag and organized it properly, just wearing one strap would undo all of your progress to a healthier back and neck! Take our word for it- wear both straps.
If your backpack does come with an around-the-waist buckle, definitely wear that as well. Bracing yourself around the waist adds extra support and takes some of the pressure from those heavy books off your shoulders. This will ultimately help you keep a correct standing and sitting posture wherever you go!
Back to school… or back from vacation
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker carrying dog treats, trail mix and a first aid kit, or a middle school student with loads of books and binders, it’s a no brainer to follow these simple instructions to stay healthy this school year.
As a conservative care office, back health and proper backpack usage is really important to us, and it's important to anyone who uses a backpack! While the majority of backpacks are carried around by students, the backpack is a favorite among travelers and hikers alike as well. All of these tips can also be beneficial to anyone who is preparing for their next hike or mini backpacking trip to a new city!
If you are experiencing back pain from overstuffed, heavy backpacks, one way to help relieve that pressure is to get an adjustment from your chiropractor. Adjustments can be a safe and effective way to keep your spinal health in check. Make your brand new school year or back-from-backpacking-Europe adjustment period that much less stressful by giving us a call today at 716-892-8811! Or fill out our contact form here to schedule your first appointment.