Backpacks are a necessity for any student. They hold all of the textbooks, notebooks, and supplies needed to make it through a successful school day.
Despite the convenience and functionality that a good backpack can have for a student, they come with a set of risks too. Last year, roughly 2,000 students found themselves in an emergency room due to a backpack related neck or back injury.
Before we can understand how to avoid backpack related injury, we need to understand what types of injuries are happening.
Understanding Backpack Related Injuries
Backpack related injuries typically affect a student’s back or neck area. These injuries are often a result of a backpack that is too heavy or being carried and filled improperly. While there are plenty of ways to avoid such injuries, many students are unaware of what these methods are. These are a few of the injuries that may occur.
Chronic Pain – Many students begin to feel chronic pain both while carrying their backpack, and without the backpack, after years of lugging it around. This chronic pain may affect the back or neck area and can lead to poor posture as well as further injury.
Muscle Strain – The weight of the backpack can cause a severe muscle strain in the back or neck. Many students who suffer from this injury continue to worsen the symptoms by continuing to carry the backpack.
Falling – The weight of a heavy backpack often causes students to lean forward as they walk, which makes them much more susceptible to falling. Falls can result in more serious injuries including broken bones, cuts, and more.
How to Prevent Backpack Related Injuries
To successfully prevent backpack related injuries, students should take measures to lower the weight of the backpack. A backpack should never exceed 10% of the student’s body weight. The weight that is in the backpack should be loaded heaviest to lightest. This means that heavy text books and binders should be placed in the back of the backpack, closet to the body of the student, while lighter supplies should be placed towards the front of the backpack. If there are chest or waist straps available for added support on the backpack, the student should use them at all times. Carrying a backpack on both shoulders and ensuring that it fits properly is another great way to prevent injury.