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How to Wear a Backpack Correctly


With many Wake County students now preparing to go back to school, this is a great time to review how to correctly wear a backpack to prevent long-term damage.  Even if you don’t have a child/grandchild starting school, this information may allow you to offer helpful advice to someone else.

  1. Make sure the backpack is no more than 5-10% of the wearer’s total body weight.  It helps that a lot of schools moving to digital books. For a typical 5th grade girl
    A backpack should never hang below the waist

    A backpack should never hang below the waist

    weighing around 80lbs, she should have a backpack weighing a maximum of between 4 to 8lbs.

  2. The backpack straps should be adjusted so the backpack rests higher on the back.  The backpack should never hang lower than the waist.  
  3. Make sure both shoulder straps are used.  This distributes the weight properly. Also, make sure that the belt strap in the front is used.  Try to get a backpack with a hip belt included. The front belt strap keeps the backpack from moving around a lot, which can cause alignment issues.
  4. Use wide, padded shoulder straps.  This helps prevent the straps from digging into the shoulders, causing neck pain.  
  5. Try for a smaller backpack with a lot of pockets.  Having the bag smaller removes the temptation to fit unnecessary things into it, weighing it down.  Also, finding a bag with lots of pockets on each side can help distribute the weight.

Wearing a backpack incorrectly can impact the spine and over time lead to back pain, headaches, neck pain, and bad posture.  For your children and youth, make the best choices you can now while their backs are still developing. If you suspect someone of wearing a backpack in the wrong way, we invite you to have them come into Fonke Chiropractic in Cary to get it checked out.

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