Chiropractor Recommended Backpacks

A Chiropractor's Backpack Review & Recommendations

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As a chiropractic physician my recommendations are made based on a variety of factors including spinal biomechanics, research evidence and practical considerations such as ease of advice implementation and the cost of particular products. I would like to disclose that, although I may get a referral fee from some of the items advertised or reviewed, this will never impact the integrity of my reviews or recommendations. I hope you find my recommendations useful; however, if you have a specific spinal problem or condition, and have not yet done so, it is recommended that you contact your qualified health care provider for recommendations that may apply to your particular case.

Peter C. Spathis, DC

The Best Backpacks

Backpacks are used both by kids and adults as a convenient way to carry items at school, to and from work, on hiking trips, etc. However, as useful as backpacks can be, they can sometimes cause unnecessary spinal stress and neck pain, back pain or even future spinal problems. The good news is that some simple tips about backpack use may help minimize the chance of these complaints. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has developed a list of recommendations to minimize back pain in children caused by the use of backpacks. However, as these recommendations can often benefit adults as well, some of them are outlined below.

The ACA recommends that, for kids, a child's backpack weigh no more than 5 to 10 percent of their body weight. This prevents the child from having to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight of the pack and decreases the stress placed on the spine. Further, the ACA recommends that a backpack not hang more than four inches below the waistline of a child. A lower hanging backpack will increase the weight on the shoulders and cause a forward lean when walking. In adults it can, of course, hang proportionately lower; however, too low will cause the same problem.

Backpack size is also something to consider. Although a bigger backpack may seem to be a better choice due to the option of being able to carry more items, the better choice may actually be a size that only allows you to carry the items you NEED. This simple consideration to reduce spinal stress from backpack use applies to both children and adults.

Backpacks are usually designed to be worn with both shoulder straps around the shoulders. For convenience, some people choose to only use one strap. Limited use in this way is typically not a problem; however, doing this on a regular basis can lead to neck and back pain from the disproportionate weight distribution that must be offset by posture modification and muscle involvement.

The straps of a backback should be wide as well as padded to avoid digging into the shoulders. This is especially important for kids as they have less body tissue padding the area and will be more prone to developing shoulder pain or even arm discomfort due to pressure on nerves that travel through the front of the shoulder area and down the arms.

Straps on the backpack should not be so tight that there is excess pressure or pinching on the body but not so loose that the backpack is allowed to dangle and cause spinal misalignment unnecessary stress.

So, in light of the above basic guidelines, lets see which backpacks are the best choices and best value for the money.

I believe most parents will find this to be a great backpack for both boys and girls. This comes in a variety of colors and styles that kids like as well as having the recommended backpack features discussed above - lightweight, wide shoulder straps with padding, etc.. The price makes it attractive also. Although it does not have as many reviews as some other choices, one does notice the lack of negative reviews and probably for good reason - if you are looking for a backback for your child, I believe this one is worth looking at.

This is advertised as a backpack for the working professional. Indeed, it can hold a laptop computer and has other featured that are attractive to this market segement. Better yet, from a chiropractic perspective, it has ergonomic features like a relatively slim design (considering its functional capacity), adequately designed shoulder straps, etc., that minimize stress to the body and make it a backpack I would recommend. For the price, definitely a backpack worth considering for working professionals, adult students and even general use.

If you are willing to spend a little more money, this backpack is more expensive than the above choices but not out of line with the North Face brand which is known for their quality. This is a good backpack from an ergonomic perspective and even has the endorsement of the American Chiropractic Association. This would be a good choice for a multiuse backpack suitable for most adults.