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Choosing the Right Backpack to Avoid Back and Shoulder Pain

Every year, the loads that students are carrying in their backpacks is increasing, and the burden of this luggage on backs and shoulders is causing shoulder, neck, and back pain later in life. For this reason, it is important to choose the right backpack to cope with the weight of the school year, and for the student to know how to properly pack, lift, and carry that bag throughout the day.

General practitioners and specialists such as physiotherapist have been warning parents for years about the damage that a heavy backpack can do to their child's body. It is important to pay attention to the proper basics when choosing this luggage, and then to provide the child with the proper usage instructions.

Look for a backpack with the following qualities in order to protect the back, neck, and shoulders:

• A padded back that will help to avoid pressure on the back, and will stop the books and other possessions contained within the luggage from digging into the student's body.
• Wide, padded shoulder straps that will help to reduce pressure on the shoulders, and a waist strap that helps to keep the backpack centered and stationary so that the weight is equally balanced on the spine.
• The right size that will sit just below the shoulders and will rest on the student's hips.
• Compartments to help keep contents of the luggage securely in place and evenly distributed so that the weight doesn't shift and put pressure on the spine.

Once you've found the luggage that is right for the student, it is important for it to be properly used so that the features will work at their best. To use a backpack properly:

• Never carry more than the equivalent of the user's body weight in the bag. If more weight must be carried, choose a bag that has wheels and a handle so that it can be pulled instead of carried.
• A child of 80 pounds or less should carry a maximum of three large books.
• All of the weight within the bag should be equally distributed between the left and right side.
• The heaviest objects should be stored in the portion closest to the student's back.
• Pointed, sharp, or bulky items should not be placed against the back.

To lift the bag, a student should:

• Bend at the knees (not the waist) and pick up the bag using both hands.
• Both shoulder straps should be used, and then the waist strap should be clipped.
• The bag should be worn snugly against the back, just below the shoulders. It should not be slung over one shoulder nor worn loosely so that it hangs down on the back or away from the back.

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