Are Your Books Weighing You Down?

When I was at school, we used sports bags for our books. After looking at the health statistics and carrying out research, it was suggested that one possible cause for Adolescent *Scoliosis, was carrying those heavy bags in one hand. It was thought that a lopsided manner of carrying bags, placed extra stress on the growing spine, causing it to curve abnormally.

An answer was found. Backpacks were bought in for school use. The idea was that they would distribute the weight more evenly. However, over time the argument has continued as some studies claim that Scoliosis in adolescents is still too prominent, thus the back packs weren’t the answer. Others have argued that backpacks are the correct solution, however, they are being over-filled and worn too low on the back; thus the continued damage.

While a great choice, any backpack, whatever age you use them, may be too large for your body; packed unevenly so the weight is unevenly distributed; or carried by the handles. Doing so defeats their purpose. One study found that the weight of backpacks carried by children was more than it is recommended that a fully grown, adult body should carry. A child’s backpack weight should not exceed ten percent of their own body weight.

Over-filling anything you carry has the potential to do you damage. That doesn’t just include backpacks. It includes handbags, laptop bags, shopping bags and briefcases. These are risk items we don’t think about.

Handbags and briefcases come in various styles: some with long handles which can be slung across the shoulders to distribute weight more evenly; and some with very short hand-holds which, if heavy, will pull on your spine, shoulders and neck. Go to a busy bus stop. Often you will see workers juggling both a brief case and a laptop bag. Whether in school or out, the strain we are placing on our spines is increasing and if we aren’t careful, so will our injuries.

So have a think about your habits in what you carry. What can you remove to lessen the load? Are the handles long enough and wide enough to distribute weight? Have you gotten into a bad habit of carrying your load only on one side of your body, stressing that side more? Anything small you can do to reduce the pull on your spine will be helpful.

If you would like to know more about how to take care of your back and prevent injury, download your free copy of Avoiding Back Pain: A Simple Guide. This is the page link for downloading the book . The file is a 700kb .pdf file which will work on any computer or tablet device. It is protected so you will not be able to print or copy from it, but please, pass it on freely!

* Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in your spine, which can occur in the upper (thoracic) or lower (lumbar) spine; sometimes both which creates what is called a double major curve. Scoliosis can range in seriousness from a mild problem which creates back pain, to curves so severe that they can reduce the amount of room needed for the heart, lungs and your gastrointestinal system. Long term untreated mild Scoliosis can create chronic pain and abnormal wear and tear on the facet joints and other structures of the spine; leading to additional medical problems.


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