Heavy backpacks may cause future problems for students

Ava Martinez

Nearly every student carries a backpack to school for convenience and organization, however many students are carrying so much weight that can cause serious back problems in the future.

“On Mondays when we have all of our classes, my backpack is more uncomfortable because I am lugging around all of my books,” said junior Farah Fouladi.

While carrying a heavy backpack is uncomfortable for Fouladi, she does not currently experience any problems more severe than discomfort.

But backpacks can cause more than just sore shoulders. Junior Juliet Charnas said her preexisting scoliosis is made worse by carrying her backpack.

Senior Grazia Benedetti rushes through the locker room to pick up some books. On regular schedule Mondays, students often carry all their books rather than visiting their lockers.

“I have a lot of back problems to start off that cause me a lot of pain,” said Charnas. “When I add a heavy backpack onto that, it can make my back pain almost unbearable.”

The majority of students carry a disproportionate weight, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Backpacks should only be 10 percent of a student’s body weight, but most carry closer to 20 percent. Heavier weight can lead to poor posture and spine misalignment in the future.

The American Chiropractic Association warns weight should be evenly distributed on both shoulders. Single shoulder bags, or even heavy purses, can lead to neck and muscle spasms as well as lower back pain.

“It is definitely better to carry a backpack than putting everything in a purse,” said Charnas. “I used to carry a [large] purse, but my doctor told me I had to switch to a backpack or I would make my scoliosis worse.”

One solution from back pain from backpacks is to carry only what is absolutely necessary.

“If you are having trouble with back pain, I would suggest that you try and use your locker as much as possible and only carry books you need,” said Fouladi.

Even if a student needs to have access to certain textbooks at all times, there are still ways to avoid carrying too much.

“I buy two copies of some of my textbooks so I don’t have to carry them back and forth to school every day,” said Charnas. “The easiest solution is to carry less weight.”