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It’s back-to-school time in most parts of the U.S. You may be shopping for a new backpack – it might be a child’s very first one, a replacement for a teenager’s thrashed pack or one for yourself.
Studies also indicate that the design of a backpack can make a difference in terms of balance, muscle activation and energy expenditure. Studies show there is a statistically significant relationship between wearing a backpack and the prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries and pain among adolescents. When comparing an ergonomically designed backpack with side pockets and extra straps to commercially available backpacks worn by college students, researchers found the ergonomic design reduced force on the shoulders and back.
We asked Kála Earley, a certified athletic trainer and regional Industrial Athlete Program manager at WorkCare, for some tips to select a backpack that support good posture and helps prevent musculoskeletal discomfort. The same principles apply to children and adults, including employees who routinely wear packs. Here’s what she advises:
It’s important to take time to adjust a backpack to ensure the right fit for comfort and safety. If you’re unsure, it’s advisable to ask an authorized retailer or medical professional for guidance. WorkCare’s Industrial Injury Prevention Specialists are available to clients to advise them on all types of ergonomic solutions to reduce risk of injury and physical discomfort.
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