Back to school time can be an exciting time, but there are some things that you need to think about while getting ready for the new school year.

Did you know that more than 50 percent of young people experience at least one episode of low back pain by their teenage years? Research indicates one cause is improper use of backpacks.

There are many factors in choosing the right pack. Here are some tips to help

Style of bag

Try to find a bag that’s lightweight canvas or vinyl.  Pick one that has two wide padded straps and a padded back. This will help give proper support and distribute the weight evenly. Also, a bag with a waist strap is ideal so that when it is fully loaded it can help transfer some of the load to your hips.  Last it is important to find one with lots of pockets so that you can balance out all your stuff.

Pack your bag right

Make sure you’re not over packing your bag. Just pack what you need for the day or activity. Your backpack should be no more than 10-15 percent of your body weight. Try to distribute the weight evenly inside the pack, having your heaviest items closest to your back and oddly shaped items away.

Wear your bag right

Both shoulder straps should be used whenever carrying the bag. Never sling your backpack over one shoulder.  Adjust the bag so it fits properly. It should fit snugly to your body, but you should still be able to slide a hand between the backpack and yourself. Don’t carry your backpack too low or loose as this forces you to lean forward and can strain your upper back.

Remember…Pack it Light, Wear it Right!!

Dr. Amy Scherer


Facts courtesy of the Ontario Chiropractic Association