September Is Backpack Safety Awareness Month At Back To Health Chiropractic Centre

Heavy, Overloaded Backpacks Can Cause Back Problems In Students.

It’s “Back-To-School” time again! Back to school for children means summer is finished and homework time is starting.  Children in grade school today are getting way more homework then I ever did when I was in grade school.  More homework to take home means heavier backpacks.  The three biggest problems I have seen with backpacks today are: 1. Most of the time, they are too big for the child (which means they are not fitted properly), 2. The backpack is overloaded making it heavy and unsafe for the child to carry, and 3. There is poor distribution of backpack contents.

What does the research say about backpacks when they are too heavy? 

A recent study showed that carrying backpacks heaver then 15% of the child’s body weight can change the postural angles of the child’s spine.1

Another study showed that the most prevalent symptoms amongst students related to carrying heavier backpacks were in the neck, shoulders, upper back and lower back. 2

It is very likely, then, that when children and students carry backpacks that are too heavy or overloaded, that this can lead to posture problems, tension on the spine, back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain.

Students in high school should have backpacks that are not heavier then 15% of their body weight.

Children in grade school should have backpacks that are not heavier then 10% of their body weight.

Read this previous post, “Chiropractic Advice For Backpack Safety”. You will find 10 useful tips to make backpack use safer for your child.

September is Backpack Safety Month at Back To Health Chiropractic Centre.  This means you can bring your child’s backpack into our clinic, we will weigh it for you, see if it is suitable for your child and show you and your child how to pack it and wear it safely and correctly.


1. Ramprasad M, Alias J, Raghuveer AK. “Effect of backpack weight on postural angles in preadolescent children.” Indian Pediatr. 2010 Jul 7;47(7):575-80. Epub 2009 Oct 14.
2. Whittfield J, Legg SJ, Hedderley DI. “Schoolbag weight and musculoskeletal symptoms in New Zealand secondary schools.” Appl Ergon. 2005 Mar;36(2):193-8. Epub 2004 Dec 20.