How to shoulder a backpack

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(CNN) — Pediatric orthopedist Dr. David Marshall is concerned about the weight that students shoulder from their backpacks.

“We’re starting to see more and more back pain complaints in the doctors’ and the sports medicine offices, and the question is: Is there a correlation between backpacks and back pain?”

It’s true that they’re a campus standard when it comes to carrying books, notebooks, computers, papers and pencils around. But experts say a backpack’s weight should be limited to about 10 — 15% of a student’s body weight.

If a traditional backpack exceeds that, you may want to consider a rolling backpack (the kind that looks like luggage).

Those who do carry their school supplies on their shoulders can take a few steps to better distribute the weight.

First, cinch up the straps. Dr. Marshall says a backpack’s weight should never be lower than the waistline; you want it high up on your shoulders.

He also suggests using both straps to make sure both sides of your torso are carrying the backpack evenly. And if yours comes with an abdominal strap, it’s a good idea to fasten that too.

Given, it may give you a bit of a hiker look (even if the hike is only from English to social studies), but a well-placed backpack can help you avoid neck and spine problems either now or down the road.

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