Backpack Safety


September 17, 2014

With the return to school that has arrived so quickly upon us, for some you this may mean heavier loads to carry. The use of overweight and improper fit of backpacks may be a contributing factor for those with spinal pain.

Reminders when carrying backpacks

  1. Wear both straps. By wearing both straps you are evenly distributing the weight on both sides of your body. Shoulder straps that are well-padded can decrease pressure on your shoulders and neck. If there is a waist belt, use this as this will distribute the weight.
  2. Proper Position. Wear backpacks snugly in the middle of the back; it should not extend past your low back. Shoulder straps should be adjusted to allow for free motion with your shoulders and arms.
  3. Lighten the weight. Try and keep the weight at max 10-15% of your body weight. Put the heavier objects in the bag closest to your back. Take out what you don’t need.

If you do have pain, come see one of the physical therapists at Compass Rehabilitation. We can help correct posture dysfunction, improve muscle imbalances, and develop self-management techniques that can result from improper backpack use.

Kristy Carpenter, DPT


American Physical Therapy Association, Move Forward Physical Therapy (2014) Backpack Safety; Accessed: 09/05/14