How Backpacks Can Hurt Your Back

Monday, November 17, 2014 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

Given my constant exposure to backache-inducing, keeps-slipping-off-my-shoulders backpacks since gradeschool, it’s really no surprise that I have lost all hope in backpacks. If you’ve been buying Jansport all your life, you should really pay attention because I’m about to tell you why you shouldn’t buy just about any backpack brand – if you want to remain in the pink of health, that is.

back pain[2]
However, I would understand if you had back pain because of a situation like this.

It’s time to retire your old backpacks and go for one that’s got your back, so to speak. Find a backpack brand that pays attention to the fact that women and men are not created equally, especially when it comes to the shoulders.

And find one that’s not ridiculously overpriced while you’re at it!

Bad Backpacks Equal Bad Backaches

Back in highschool, I marveled at how most of the girls would rather suffer for fashion than carry their heavy notebooks comfortably. They preferred wearing their rucksacks using just one strap instead of both.

Hey, that other strap is just there for absolutely no reason, right? God forbid if you look like a nerd using BOTH shoulder straps, huh?

Pardon my sarcasm, but I never really got the “use one strap only to look pretty” trend. I wore my very heavy backpack using both shoulder straps all throughout college and med school. If I knew about ergonomics back in highschool, I would have bought a bag designed for comfort!

Unfortunately, all I saw in malls as a kid were bags not designed with comfort in mind. Big, built-with-straps-that-refuse-to-stay-on-your-shoulders, does-nothing-for-your-back bags. Pretty, but horrible on my back. Ugh.

Style Rehabilitation

I’m not exaggerating my aversion to backpacks. When I was still in med school, my backache had gotten so bad that I had to undergo expensive rehab therapy for my back. Thank God the med school I went to had a Rehabilitative Medicine department!

I also had to buy back support for when I rode in cars. I couldn’t sit for long periods of time because my lower back would act up.

I felt like I was held hostage by my back. It would tell me, “Freeze!” while poking me with what felt like a knife as it stole my time and money.

Unfortunately, I don’t look half as cute as this little ball of fur when I’m being held hostage.

And before I forget, I would like to send all backpack brands a heartfelt message: Do a little ergonomic design! Kids and teens keep buying your bags – it’s time you gave them comfort and quality, not just colorful fabrics and branding.

There! I said it.

5 Criteria for the Perfect Backpack (PLUS the backpack brand that meets them all!)

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!