Walking with heavy backpack – Hurting Your Posture and Back
Backpacks can be a good and practical way to carry supplies when used correctly. Although they are designed to distribute the weight of the load among some of the body’s strongest muscles, heavy backpacks worn incorrectly can cause problems.
According to ABC News, a recent computer simulation done by the doctors at the New York spine surgery and rehabilitation center looked at the actual force of a heavy backpack on the spine. They found that the amount of pressure placed on the spine can equal about seven times the backpack’s weight.
So, carrying a heavy backpack is terrible for your back. In this article on Stage Marketplace, we’ll explain the ways to help you use backpacks safely and avoid severe back, neck, and shoulder back, as well as posture problems.
What happens if you carry a heavy backpack?
Many people find backpacks as the best option to carry everything they might need. But did you think about what happens if it gets too heavy? And what can we do to cope with the problems?
A heavy backpack can cause pain and even wear and tear on the joints, ligaments, and muscles. For an extended period of time, these effects can spread to other parts of your body.
Although back pain can result from various factors, walking with a heavy backpack is the main reason behind back pain problems.
Heavy backpack pulls you backward. So you lean forward to compensate for the extra weight, and it will reduce your balance. Because of this unnatural position, a heavy backpack will develop shoulder, neck, and back pain.
What makes a backpack heavy?
There is a general guideline to determine the backpack weight. Your loaded backpack should not weight more than 10-15 percent of your body weight if you use the backpack every day.
But you carry a heavy backpack if:
- It’s difficult to put on or take off.
- You have pain from wearing it.
- You feel tingling or numbness in your limbs.
- Strap marks show on your shoulders.
- Your posture changes while wearing it.
Do heavy backpacks stunt growth?
There is concern that when children routinely carry heavy backpacks, it can cause shortness! Here we collect some facts to show you how heavy backpacks stunt growth.
It depends on the backpack weight, frequency of carrying a heavy backpack, age, and the spine and musculature condition.
When you’re young, the disks which make your spines are full of water, it causes moving easier. As the years go by, that water dries up. It’s why scientists say between the ages of 20 and 60; we’re likely to lose an inch to an inch and a half in height from that water leaving your spine.
When you carry a heavy backpack for an extended period, you’re in fact crushing those water-filled gaps, compressing the spine with all the extra weight.
Accelerating the rate of losing water in the lumbar disk (bones in your lower spine) will speed up this “natural shrinking” process!
Is carrying a heavy backpack bad?
While backpacks are the most common for hikers, backpackers, and students, carrying a heavy backpack affects the upper body, including the arms, hands, forearms, or shoulders.
You may experience these symptoms after carrying a heavy backpack or carrying one incorrectly. So, continue reading the next part to find solutions.
What is the proper way to carry a backpack?
There are some tips to avoid back pain, especially when carrying a heavy backpack. Keep reading to know how you should use a backpack.
- Choose the right backpack. Check the article how to choose a backpack on Stage.
- Less weight is always better, apart from how your backpack is well-designed. Do you remember the proper backpack weight we mentioned above? 10% to 15% of your body weight.
- Place heaviest items closer to your back.
- Purchase a backpack with padded shoulder straps.
- Lift with your legs, bending at the knees, and not with your back.
- Use all the backpack pockets to spread the stuff weight out.
- Use both shoulder straps.
- Tighten the shoulder straps to fit closely to your body.
- Wear your backpack only when needed. For example, if you’re waiting for the bus, take your backpack off.
- If you have to carry more items, take some of the gear out of your pack and carry them in your hands.
Can backpacks cause health problems? – Backpack health effects
A heavy backpack can have negative health effects, such as:
- Your posture changes
- Your spine’s alignment suffers
- You’re at a higher risk for arthritis
- Your core muscles weaken
Make sure that you find the right backpack for you and use it correctly, then you don’t need to worry about these problems.
Is wearing a backpack safe?
Carrying a backpack not only is safe for your body, but also it’s safe to wear a backpack in a crowd. The point is that if you do not overload you backpack and use it in a correct way, it’s one of the best ways to carry your gear.
Many people choose backpacks as sensible and less harmful methods of carrying items. The truth is, walking with a heavy backpack is not safe. Not using a backpack properly can lead to bad posture. It will be harmful to your body.
If you have to lean forward to carry your pack or have back pain, you may need to put less in your pack or carry a heavy backpack differently.
Choosing and using backpacks in the right way is vital for a healthy and active lifestyle. If you have any questions about selecting the best backpack, contact us soon.