Student Life

The Weight On Our Shoulders

Back Spasms?  Shooting Pains?  These all sound like things you might hear being advertised for senior citizens, but for many students at AHS, this is the reality we face everyday when we put on our backpacks.

Several studies done over the past few years research exactly how much extra weight we are carrying everyday. Consumer Report, a magazine focused mainly on product testing, found that a student’s backpack can weigh up to 30 pounds when it should weigh no more than 10 percent of your body weight. While all bodies react differently to pain, this extra weight can severely damage your back.  This means that too much weight in your backpack can cause a spine to compress. Compression results in pain, weakness, and in some cases, numbness.  In addition, a heavy backpack can cause you to lean forward. This reduces your balance and makes it easier to fall.

Peers from our very own school have had some of these things happen to them because of the weight in their backpacks. Cadence Lamphiear, a freshman at AHS, stated that, “My chiropractor has asked me to lighten my backpack if possible, but I can’t because I need everything in my backpack.” Cadence isn’t the only one who has noticed that her backpack has become too heavy to handle.  Kailey Davis, a junior at AHS, also commented on the issue. Davis tore her rhomboid, a rhombus-shaped muscle in the back, during a soccer practice and it has hurt ever since. Davis went to the doctor and he told her to rest her back.  Kailey explained that, “I couldn’t do that because I have to wear a backpack everyday.”

The back pain doesn’t just end after 2:10, either. The walk home from school only furthers back discomfort.  Elizabeth Koals, a sophomore at AHS, walks home from school on several occasions and she noticed, “With the addition of a laptop in her backpack, the weight she has had to carry has noticeably increased.”

There are various ways to help alleviate back pain inflicted by overweight backpacks. One way to help alleviate pressure on your back is to make sure your backpack is not hanging down more than four inches below your waist.  In addition, adding a chest or waist strap may help redistribute the load on your back and in turn, will lessen the negative toll backpacks take on your back.

Back out of back pain!

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