How students feel their backpack must look like. cover image.

Kaitlyn Hamel

How students feel their backpack must look like. cover image.

Effects of Heavy Backpacks on Students

March 16, 2020

Whether you have a great amount of weight on your backpack because of some of your classes, or just take books home to study, having a great amount of weight in your backpack can be detrimental to one’s health, especially at this age.

Have you realized how heavy your backpack is? If you suffer from back or shoulder pain, you might want to know. Around 18 percent of students age 14-16 suffer from low back pain, according to NBC News. Your health is not something you should take lightly, all students must take care of themselves in order to perform at their peak. According to Iowa university Health Care, “An overweight backpack causes the body to compensate for the extra weight. If you lean forward to compensate, it reduces your balance making it easier to fall. The extra weight can distort the natural curve of the middle and lower back, causing muscle strain”.

When a student at Taft carrying a “seemingly heavy backpack,” who asked to remain anonymous, was asked whether this choice was prejudicial to his health in any way, he responded “I do get some usual back pain, but I really need this stuff on me,” this in itself speaks of normal behavior in high school students, who tend to carry a lot of weight.

We all know that sometimes you just gotta carry some books around, however, when it comes to what must be kept, there are some things that simply don’t deserve the effort to carry, such as extra snacks, non-school books, makeup, accessories, etc. This seems to be a problem for students in high school, especially those who don’t get breakfast in the morning.

According to HealthDay, “A survey of 1126 school children aged 12 to 18 published in the journal Spine found that chronic low back pain was associated with the weight of their school bags. A later study in the same journal found that carrying school bags on just one shoulder may also play a role in lower back pain.” Regarding heavy backpacks, some students can actually, and should, keep their books in their locker, however most of us don’t, and that’s a problem.

A couple of things you can do to avoid back pain, or relieve it, according to Campbell Clinics are:
Try to choose smaller and fewer items to include. This will help reduce the amount of weight you are carrying overall.
Another way to prevent pain is by doing three sets of 15-20 reps of shoulder resistance exercises with lighter weights. This will help improve strength in the neck, upper back and shoulder muscles.

Constantly reevaluate the things you carry in your backpack. This is just another way take care of your wellbeing.

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