Damaging Effects Caused by Heavy Backpacks

Renton Chiropractic Center Speaks on the Damaging Effects Caused by Heavy Backpacks

School has begun and all the books and supplies needed to make a students education successful are jammed into a backpack. The weight from the backpack can create damaging effects on the students back, neck, and shoulders. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 14,000 children are treated for backpack-related injuries every year. That is why it is very important to learn preventive care and have regular chiropractic visits, here at Renton Chiropractic.

Petett-Chiropractic-Renton-heavy-backpacksWhen a backpack is too heavy it pulls the student backwards, which causes the student to lean forward to compensate. This forward lean can cause the spine to unnaturally compress. This can lead to back, shoulder, and neck pain and lead to arching of the back. A heavy backpack can also change the walking patterns and reduce balance of the student. This can cause risk of falling, especially down stairs or uneven areas. Wearing the backpack improperly can also cause stress on the back, neck, and shoulders. Some students will wear their backpack on one shoulder or lean to one side to make it easier to carry such a heavy backpack, but this only causes more damages.


photo credit: Going to School With Charlotte via photopin (license)
It’s crucial to educate those who wear a backpack and the importance of wearing it correctly. The damages are fixable through proper care. Follow these check lists that we at Renton Chiropractic find important to ensure your student can find a backpack that suits him/herself.

How to know if the backpack is too heavy:

  • If the student is leaning forward when walking
  • Grunts when picking up or taking off the backpack
  • Has a red mark on their shoulders
  • Complains their shoulders, arms, or fingers are “falling asleep”
  • Walking patterns and body posture has changed


What to do:

  • Find a backpack that actually fits
  • Use a backpack that has waist straps to alleviate pressure on the shoulders
  • Watch the weight of the backpack; they should only weight 10-15% of child’s weight
  • Pack the heavier things low and towards the back
  • Find a backpack that has wide straps

If you or someone you know is dealing with back pain due to improperly wearing a backpack please contact Renton Chiropractic right away, we would be happy to help!