Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Scary Truth About Your Backpack

Do you ever use a backpack for activities such as hiking? If so, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced back pain. Sometimes that back pain can have lasting effects if not properly treated.

In a news release by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), the issue of back pain caused by backpacks is heavily examined. When we think of backpacks we usually think of kids in school, but it’s not uncommon for adults, especially hikers, to feel the effects of a heavy backpack, too.

The news release emphasizes the rising number of hikers who experience back pain from heaving overweight backpacks while trekking up steep hills, across slippery rocks or through overgrown landscapes. The negative consequences your body endures from lugging these too-heavy bags can even be longstanding and require medical treatment for relief.

Some of the ways overweight backpacks can affect your body include straining the back, neck or shoulders, distorting the natural curves of the spine and spine joints, promoting bad posture with rounded, hunched shoulders and distorting balance, making it easier to fall.

How to Avoid Pain from Backpacks

The conveniences of backpacks for hikers are too numerous to avoid backpacks altogether, but there are ways to prevent back pain. If you’re a hiker and you use backpacks, consider making these changes to spare yourself some pain:
  • Find a backpack that fits your proportions. It should accommodate your length from the upper back area to the bottom of your ribs.
  • Always keep the shoulder straps on the center of your collarbones while hiking.
  • Don't keep the shoulder straps too tight. You should be able to fit two fingers between the shoulder straps and your body.
  • Be sure to purchase a backpack with a hip belt, and use it. The belt should fall right around your hips above the pelvic bone.
  • Always place the heaviest items in the bottom of the backpack and the lightest items toward the top or in the pockets.

Back Pain Treatment

Don't let backpack pain keep you from getting out there and enjoying nature with a good hike. However if you're already feeling the effects of heavy backpacks, consider contacting the back pain specialists at Capstone Pain and Spine Center. With the use of noninvasive or minimally invasive treatment, you can be free of that obnoxious back pain and happily return to scenic, adventurous hiking you enjoy.

How do you keep your hiking backpack from weighing you down? We'd love to hear. Share with us below.

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