School bags and back pain

It doesn’t matter whether we use a backpack to go to school, to work or to go to gym, we often find ourselves carrying too much weight which may result in a sore or stiff back at the end of the day.

Using a backpack is still one of the most effective ways to carry something. However if not used in the correct way it may cause many problems.


Misalignment of the spine caused by excessive weight.

Characteristics we should look for when buying a good school bag:


  1. Lightweight material (canvas as opposed to leather)
  2. Two padded, wide (2-inches), adjustable shoulder straps on the school bag.
  3. Padded back
  4. Individualized compartments, to better distribute the weight.

So what is the right way to use a school bag?

  1. Always use both shoulder straps and wear the backpack on the back rather than over one shoulder
  2. Pack heaviest objects into the backpack first so they are carried lower and closest to the bodya4701Keeping heavy objects closer to the spine prevent leaning back and rolling forward for the shoulders.
    1. Fill compartments so that the load is evenly distributed throughout the school bag and items do not shift while walking or cycling.
    2. Pack sharp or bulky objects in the school bag so they do not contact the back.
    3. Adjust the straps to fit the school bag snugly to the body, holding the bottom of the bag 2 inches above the waist and keeping the top just below the base of the skull. Do not carry the school bag down low near the buttocks.
    4. Use both hands to lift the bag, keeping it close to the body. Place the back on a table to allow put your arms through at one time.
    5. Keeping heavy objects closer to the spine prevent leaning back and rolling forward for the shoulders.
    6. Avoid leaning forward when walking; keep your shoulders above your hips.


Even if we use the perfect school bag, the weight of the school bag should be around 15% of the body weight, and nobody should carry more than 25 pounds (10-11 kg)


There can be many other reasons why you or your child suffers with back pain. Do not hesitate to contact us at Southside Physiotherapy Clinic 01 2897171 where we will assess your back and your posture, identify the problem and get on the right track to be pain free again.

Book Online Click