Wearing a backpack is necessary when you’re hiking, going to school, or if your job demands it. Unfortunately, according to backpainrelief.net, wearing a backpack carries an inherent risk of injury to your back. In a normal person, back injuries are always caused by weak back muscles, uneven loading of the back, and rotational force under load. In other words, your back is either too weak to carry the weight in your backpack, you are placing uneven loads on your spinal discs, or you’re are trying to rotate your back while you’re carrying significant weight. Here’s how to hoist that heavy backpack on your back and keep on hauling’.
- Get in the gym. The absolute best way to decrease your risk of injury is to get in the gym and workout your back muscles, yet most people won’t do this. Don’t be one of those people. One of the major reasons you’re going to hurt your back by carrying a backpack is because your back muscles aren’t strong enough. To remedy this, you need to to compound lifts that work all of your back muscles and stabilizer muscles.
Some fitness experts suggest working out on machines that isolate the back, but this is almost always a bad idea. When you’re out there in the real world, you’re never going to be able to isolate your back muscles. With a heavy backpack on your back, you’ll need to recruit all of your stabilizing muscles as well as your back muscles. This is why barbell squats and deadlifts are some of the best exercises you can do to simultaneously strengthen all of the muscles you’ll need while carrying a heavy load on your back. A correctly performed full, weighted, squat is the best exercise you can do for your back (source: http://startingstrength.com/articles/squat_analysis_soleyn.pdf
- Maintain good posture.Stand with your back against the wall. Put your heels against the baseboard. Now, lift your chest until your scapula (your shoulder blade) touches the wall. Don’t create an excessive arch in your low back. Draw your abdominal muscles in and up. Imagine you’re holding a tennis ball between your chin and your sternum. If you have a tennis ball to practice this, all the better. Now, pull your head back until it touches the wall. This is correct posture. Walk away from the wall, keeping your weight on your mid-foot and heels. When you walk, you shouldn’t “stomp.” You should keep weight on your back foot and push off of it onto your other foot. This lessens the stress on your ankles, knees, and back.When you’re carrying your backpack on your back, you’ll have to lean forward a bit to counterbalance the weight on your back. This is fine as long as you maintain a rigid, flat back