Prevent Back-Pain

Back pain is pervasive among adults. But a new and disturbing trend is emerging: Many young children are suffering from back pain often due to the use of overweight backpacks, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). [1]

A study by the University of California showed that more than 60% of the surveyed middle school children reported experiencing back pain as a result of heavy backpacks. [2]

Carrying a heavy backpack improperly over time can result in strained muscles and joints, headaches, forward head posture and serious back pain. The ACA makes some recommendations for safe backpack use:


The backpack's weight should be no more than 10 percent of the body weight. A heavier backpack will cause you to bend forward and tighten your back muscles, and stressing your spine. Make sure to load the heaviest items near the back.


The bottom of the backpack should align with the curve of the lower back, and should not be more than four inches below the waistline (belly button). (For youngsters, up to two inches below the waistline is a good measurement.)


Always wear BOTH shoulder straps, one on each shoulder, to avoid neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.

Wide, padded straps are very important for better distribution of the bag's weight across the shoulders. The straps need to be adjustable and their anchor points should rest one to two inches below the top of the shoulders.

Ergonomically designed backpacks distribute weight more evenly and are recommended by health care professionals. The ACA officially endorses nine styles of backpacks from The North Face: The Big Shot, Borealis, Box Shot, Cornice, Hotshot, On Sight, Recon, Surge and Yavapai. [3] Doctors of Chiropractic also recommend Air Pack. [4]

Remember and teach your children how to pick up heavy objects including backpacks safely.

Don’t lift from a standing position with your waist bent or your knees locked. Stand as close to the object as possible, and bend at the knees. Now hold the object close to your body and use your leg muscles to lift it. Looking slightly upwards while lifting will help maintain a better position of the spine.

Save Your Back ;-)


Jeannette von Johnsbach


1 American Chiropractic Association

2 UC Newsroom, University of California. (2004, August 26).

Back to school; heavy packs endanger kids’ heath, study shows

3 American Chiropractic Association endorses The North Face Backpacks


5 Lifting Safety Posters | Simpsons Lifting Posters | Lower Back