A Case For Backpacks

March 9th, 2016

Backpacks. They’re not just for kids anymore!

I recently had my own little bout of back pain, which seemed to come on with no known cause. I went to stand up one morning and all of a sudden it felt like someone had a death-grip on my spine.

Fortunately, I was able to work through, and around it for the few days it took to get it back on track, but it got me thinking about what could have caused it. What had changed in the lead up to this all too common malady that I see in my office on a daily basis? Then it hit me.

For the last month or so I have been making an effort to walk more, which includes the 10 floor hike up to my office via the stairwell. I have also procured a laptop since then, and while not the heaviest thing ever, it certainly added a significant increase in weight to my daily carried items in my shoulder bag which I have been using since college.

It dawned on me after feeling that laptop slapping against my low back mostly on my left side that it had to do something with recently acquired back vice. I then decided to switch over to using a backpack which one of my patients had actually recently given me (THANKS MIKE!), and after a few days the pain was completely gone.

So I implore you, if you are like me and have been using a shoulder bag or purse to carry things around then please consider swtiching to a good backpack instead. It very well could be responsible for any persistent neck, shoulder, hip, or low back pain that does not seem to be going away.

A good back pack will have wide padded, and adjustable straps, possibly with support straps that go across the chest and waist. It should be adjusted to where there is little to no gap between the top of the bag and your upper back, and that any load inside is felt mostly across the hips.

You should make sure to not carry loads heavier than about 15 percent of your bodyweight. The weight should be distributed in your bag so that the heaviest items are carried lower and closer to your back when wearing it.

While you may end up looking like a nerdy school-kid, you’ll probably end up being a nerdy-looking person with no back pain. Which is okay in my book.