It’s back to school season! The kids are off with big backpacks stacked with heaps of books, tech gadgets and sports equipment. To prevent back strains, it’s a good idea to invest in a good backpack. Two of the main things to look out for in a good school bag are: structural support and load distribution.

When looking for a bag, ensure that the bag has good sturdiness and padding to it so that it can withstand the desired weight of the demands while remaining comfortable for the shoulders and hips. Load distribution is key, so that the weight isn’t causing us to hunch over and flex at the hips too much, thus potentially preventing back pain. Find a bag with a chest and hip strap that can buckle together to help distribute the weight appropriately.

When fitting the bag, make sure that it is comfortably fit, tight enough to snuggly wrap around the shoulders and waist. Don’t let the straps so loose that the bag is hanging past your waist and hitting against your bottom with every step forward. And to the other extreme, don’t tighten the straps so much that the straps starts to dig into the shoulders. The bag should sit comfortably at the top of your hips.

With that in mind, other contributers to low back pain in the student population can arise from:

If you think you or someone you know has low back pain, whether you’re a student or not, seek your physiotherapist to identify the source of the pain. That way, you and your physiotherapist can develop strategies to help manage this.