Straight Up: Tips for a Healthy Back
You've made it to college - the world of big campuses, big parties and big books. Follow these tips from the American Chiropractic Association for properly carrying your backpack, and save yourself some big pains in the neck, back and shoulders.
Your backpack should never hang more than 4 inches below your waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing you to lean forward when walking.
A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your back.
Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more you'll be tempted to carry, and the heavier the backpack will be. A basic rule is to carry no more than 10 percent of your body weight. Wear both shoulder straps. Lugging your backpack around by one strap can cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain. Wide, padded shoulder straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your shoulders. Straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your body. If they are too loose, your backpack will dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.