Backpacks Bend Backs

Every day 40 million students have to face the same struggle: carrying many pounds of textbooks and papers from classroom to classroom on their backs. Walking through the halls you can hear many teenagers complaining about how their backs hurt. They sound as if they are 60-year-olds.

Those aches and pains are trying to tell you something. Those constant back pains caused by that pesky over-loaded backpack could be potentially serious. The effects of an overloaded backpacks: distorting the natural curves of your lower and middle back, muscle strain and irritation to the spine joints. An Illinois State Board of Education report says that 7,277 backpack related incidents landed students in the ER.

The average 16-year-old girl is around 115-125 pounds. The recommended weight for carrying in that weight group is only 16-18 pounds. The average 16 year old boy is 140 pounds. The recommended carrying weight for that group is 19-21pounds. The average high schooler’s backpack weighed an astounding 25 pounds which outweighs both recommended carrying weights.

What causes even worse side effects is when you carry your backpack using only one of the shoulder straps. Uneven weight will strain your shoulder muscle to help make up for lack of weight on the shoulder that has no pressure on it.

Teenagers are still developing so this constant weight put upon their back will slow down their development process. Heavy backpacks can also affect your future. If your back doesn’t develop correctly that could lead to severe back problems when you’re an adult.

“I constantly have back pain. I lift weights after school and on top of that I have to carry around this heavy thing all day. I feel like I am going to be a hunchback by the end of senior year,” says sophomore Chris Robinson.

“I feel like backpacks are getting too heavy for our growing youth” says sophomore Bam Han.

“I actually had to go to Kathina’s [ODA Personal Trainer] because my backpack was causing so much stress to my spine,” says sophomore Joey Runge.

So next time you feel sluggish and weighed down take a minute to put down your sack and give yourself a break. It’s just not healthy to be carrying a heavy amount of weight around for a long period of time.