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The Facts about Backpacks

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

School is fully in session and many students are bringing backpacks full of school supplies, including books and laptops. It is easy for students to overload their backpacks and to also not properly carry their backpacks. Overloading a backpack or carrying the backpack slung over one shoulder is not harmless. According to The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), backpacks should not weigh more 10 percent of one’s body weight. Some ways that one can lessen their backpack load is to only carry items that are necessary and to remove unnecessary items each day.

Here are some other tips provided by AOTA to help decrease back pain and future injuries from carrying backpacks:

  • Make sure that the backpack is the correct size
  • Adjust the height of the backpack so that it extends from approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades to waist level.
  • Make sure the shoulder pads are well-padded or use both straps to better balance the weight
  • Place heaviest items closet to the person’s back and balance materials to easily stand in an upright posture.

For further questions or concerns regarding backpack safety, in order to decrease back pain or future injury, contact Cozad Community Physical Therapy. Our Physical Therapists or Occupational Therapist can provide further information regarding proper backpack wearing techniques. You can also find more information at

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