back packBACKPACKS

The growing trend toward back packs as a school bag is the best thing that has happened for growing bodies.

The ergonomic advantages of a quality back pack are numerous, especially during the adolescent years when the musculo-skeletal system is growing and maturing:

  • Carrying the load symmetrically from the shoulders allows an upright and balanced posture.
  • The Gait or walking style, is free and unrestricted.  You can even jog, cycle or skate!
  • Hands are free to talk on the mobile phone or show your bus pass.
  • Back packs are comfortable, allowing a balanced upright posture.


The size of the bag needs to fit the size of the wearer.  With the shoulder straps properly adjusted so that the top of the bag is just below the shoulder line, the base of the bag should not fall below the top of your pelvis.  If it sags to your bum it is too big or needs adjusting.  This seems to be a fashion that will probably pass with the generous showing of undies!

Because this style of bag helps you carry the load efficiently, the trap is to overload.  Don’t carry a library to and from school or Uni.


1)    Get Organised – Have a folder for each subject at home.  Carry a “ day folder” with dividers for each subject.  So that all current work can be carried in the bag.  Once complete; file the work into the folders at home.

2)    Visit your locker between classes and off load unnecessary books etc. It’s pretty naff to shlep your sports gear around all day if you don’t need it until after school.  Let me dream, I’m a parent!

A great thing can become a bad thing if misused.  Slinging a bag over one shoulder causes the back to take on an “S” curve or scoliosis.  This condition affects one in five school children and can be very painful and severely limit activity.

A well designed, quality back pack can save students a pain in the back or neck.  However if poorly used can create a real headache.

Michael Mulholland, Osteopath

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