Could my (heavy) backpack damage my back/shoulders?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Firestar, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. Firestar macrumors 68020

    Firestar

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
    221B Baker Street.
    #1
    I'm wondering if my backpack could cause future damage to my shoulders/back, it seems pretty likely to me.

    According to my scale, the backpack weighs 33lbs (I thought it was around 20lb! :eek:). Things that majorly contribute to this are 4 textbooks (at least two of which are over 1000 pages), five notebooks, a workbook, a filled water bottle, two calculators (one graphing), and then an expandable file that probably has a couple hundred pages itself. So yeah, a lot of stuff.

    I wear the backpack around 10 minutes walking to the bus stop/standing at the bus stop, 15 minutes at the beginning of school, about 5 minutes at every one of the 6 passing periods, probably another 10 minutes at the end of school, then another 5 minutes walking home from the bus. So total would be an hour and 10 minutes (70 minutes).

    It's a backpack with two straps, so the weight should be pretty evenly distributed (no, I don't wear it with only one strap).

    If it's possible that this could cause some back/shoulder problems in the future, then I'll try and find my locker/get its combo (wherever it is I'm pretty sure it isn't very close to my route).

    At 33lbs for about 70 minutes a day, I'm pretty sure that could cause some damage of some sort.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #2
    Had a friend who damaged his shoulder carrying a bag on his bus commute to and from work. His routine sounded a lot like yours. If he does a set of exercises to keep the shoulder in good condition, then it doesn't bother him. If he ignores doing the exercises, then the problem will eventually return
     
  3. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
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    having a drink at Milliways
    #3
    any chance you can get from the library an extra copy of the textbooks?
    that way you can keep on copy at home and one at school in the locker.

    that's how i 'solved' the same problem a few eons ago.

    that said, i don't think it's going to damage your back
     
  4. Firestar thread starter macrumors 68020

    Firestar

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    Location:
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    #4
    I doubt it. The books we have are brand new, I don't think our library really has many textbooks at all.
     
  5. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #5
    did you get them from the school or did you have to purchase them? they must have extra ones in case somebody loses them
     
  6. Surely Guest

    Surely

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    It is possible that your heavy backpack will cause you future shoulder/back problems with continued use. However, I'd say that because you carry it in short bursts (10 minutes here, 5 minutes there), the chances aren't as high as someone that carried it for longer periods. There are other factors to consider, such as your posture and how strong your core is. Better posture and core strength would protect you from injury.

    I'd consider buying a good-quality back pack....something with good padding on the shoulder straps and on the back area. Also, having a waist strap and a strap that connects the shoulder straps at your chest would help a lot. The waist strap would distribute some of the weight onto your hips instead of it all being on your shoulders.

    Something like this: http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Packs/SchoolBags/PRD~5025-775/onsight-101-bookbag-daypack.jsp


    /stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night ;)
     
  7. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Toronteazy
    #7
    People have been carrying heavy objects slung over their backs for as long as there have been people. As long as you're conscious of your posture, carrying things is actually very good for you. For optimal benefits, try carrying the bag in one hand while walking straight to engage your abdominals and obliques. People actually pay me up to $100/hour to make them do this!

    What you should be far more concerned about than the ~70 minutes carrying a bag is the ~360 minutes you spend a day sitting. Between the two, sitting is going to do significantly greater damage to your shoulders, spine and hips.
     
  8. Firestar thread starter macrumors 68020

    Firestar

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    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
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    #8
    School. They probably do, but I doubt they would let me use them.
    Kinda what I thought. And as for my core strength, pretty much non-existant. I probably should work on that.
    Yeah... The backpack I have now has pretty decent shoulder padding, so it should be okay there. Thanks for the help.
    Fair enough.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #9
    Use the waist strap. ;)

    Also, have you tried finding digital copies of your textbooks? I have around 50 pdfs of textbooks, and whenever I need a textbook (rarely), I could look at them on my MBA, or Kindle DX.
     
  10. Firestar thread starter macrumors 68020

    Firestar

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
    221B Baker Street.
    #10
    Waist strap's broken. I guess it happens with a 4yo backpack.

    I have access to at least two of them currently. I don't care about taking them home, I've already accustomed to the weight of my backpack. So walking around with it really isn't a big deal (anymore), I was just curious if a time of decently long weight on my shoulders could harm me in some way.
     
  11. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #11
    I also do not think the waist strap on the back pack would help as all it really does is keep the back from bouncing to far off your back. It is not like those Hiker backbacks which the waist straps puts all the weight on your hips.

    Over all I would not worry about it. It is not like you are going supper long time spans with out resting.
    Besides I find that it often times can get worse in college not better in terms of loads you carry on your back. Big time if you schedule is stacked the wrong way you can get some pretty heavy loads.
     
  12. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    Location:
    Totalitarian Republic of Northlandia
    #12
    Are you really obliged to bring the textbooks in class? I never used them in class and I have good grades. I guess it depends on the way the teacher teaches, but when he writes all his stuff or use PowerPoint presentations, the book is useless.
     
  13. Firestar thread starter macrumors 68020

    Firestar

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    #13
    Consistently. There's only one textbook I don't use at school daily.
     
  14. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

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    Feb 15, 2002
    Location:
    Tatooine
    #14
    A lesson I learned the hard way was to not wear the bag by one strap. Another thing to remember is to try putting a flat and softer object at the back of the bag so that the weight is distributed evenly and gently across your back. It's the repetition of long periods of carrying a load that can cause a problem, but not for a few minutes at a time.

    You haven't got a locker yet? ;) Some students use it to excess, and come to class without anything to write with or on, and no, they won't use their iPhones or laptops.

    It's actually surprising (or not, considering the stupidity of public education) that your courses don't support the digital age by putting the course materials where any mobile device can access them. If your course instructors are relying on you to bring a textbook, they're being lazy by not putting the material in digital format and making it available to every student in print or online. Unfortunately, "teaching teachers technology in the classroom" doesn't fix laziness or ignorance of the simple tools available to make a course more accessible. Of course, this is also a result of teaching to a test, which is easier to do by using only the approved textbooks without augmentation or alteration.

    Anyway, enough of that. Basically, if your back aches at all, during or after wearing the bookbag, it's time to change the loading or get a better bag with more padding for better back and shoulder support.
     
  15. Firestar thread starter macrumors 68020

    Firestar

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
    221B Baker Street.
    #15
    I have all my textbooks in the section closest to my back, while notebooks are in the sections further away.
    I do, I just don't use it. It's too far out of my way, so far that I believe it would cause me to be late to my classes. I would only be able to access it before and after school, which wouldn't really be of much use.
    Not everyone has a mobile device/computer, but otherwise I agree.
    Nah. I've gotten use to it (I've been doing this for 9 weeks).
     
  16. KHLopez macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    #16
    Hello

    I dunno, but you sure could use a person you know!

    HELLO ALL I AM THIS GUY'S FRIEND. WOOP. sjkfghfdghh
     
  17. Sjhonny macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    The land of the cucumbers
    #17
    get an iPad ... Of course it's killing your back :p
     
  18. Svend macrumors member

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    Jan 27, 2010
    #18
    You probably do more damage to your back sitting in front of your computer daily than carrying your backpack. Your body should adapt and get stronger by carrying a weight over time, not degrade.
     
  19. yannstevenson macrumors newbie

    yannstevenson

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    #19
    How long are you planning of carrying around the backpack? If it is not a long-term thing, I don't suppose there would be any effect on your shoulders.
     
  20. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #20
    it all depends on your physical fitness and the backpack

    if that description that follows matches your backpack then you will be fine to even triple the weight ;)


    Hipbelt - This is THE most important part. Without a good hipbelt, all the weight would end up on your shoulder, neck and back muscles instead of your stronger hips and legs. Generally, the broader and better-padded the belt, the better. A good fit here is important otherwise it will slip and do no good. The heavier your load, the more it tends to slip. Detachable/independent belts of various kinds (versus sewn on) give the best custom fit

    Shoulder harness - The shoulder harness isn't meant to support your entire load. Very little, in fact. If your hipbelt is doing its job, the shoulder harness simply serves to keep the upper pack near your body. Look for a curved shoulder harness -- they fit better.

    Stabilizer straps are important as well, especially for internal frame packs. Look for packs that have upper stabilizer straps (from pack to top of shoulder harness) and hipbelt stabilizing straps. Hipbelt stabilizing straps work especially well on large fanny packs, because they of course don't have shoulder straps to help with the load.

    A final component is the lumbar pad, the padding situated at the small of your back. Most of the downward force ends up at this point, so a lumbar pad with high-friction fabric is nice because it reduces belt slippage.

    i know its a description for hiking backpacks , but it does not matter if you walk 30 miles a day through the mountains with your backpack or the 1/2 mile to the bus stop , with the wrong backpack both is lethal for your back and shoulders
     
  21. anotonin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    #21
    Put your bag in a stroller or cart thingy. Or on rollers so that you won't damage your back.

    Or scanned your book pages and turn it into PDF file and put it in your laptop. :)
     
  22. 184550 Guest

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #22
    Then charge your classmates for a copy in order to compensate for the amount of time it'll take to scan your textbooks.
     
  23. Firestar thread starter macrumors 68020

    Firestar

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
    221B Baker Street.
    #23
    This school year. I'm not sure if I'll use my locker next year.
    Don't have a laptop.
    I can't really buy a new backpack (at least not now), but thanks.
     
  24. MacHamster68, Oct 20, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #24
    if you only have a backpack with shoulder straps only , you can still do something to reduce the risk of back/ shoulder damage .
    wear the backpack as tight to your body as comfortably possible , so it does not move and bounce around so much when you walk and try to distribute the weight inside evenly so that both shoulder straps are pulled down by the weight equally
     

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