Almost everyone has experienced a headache at some point in their lives. But for some, headaches can be a regular occurrence. And for some people, their headaches may be caused by something as simple as carrying a heavy backpack.
If you’ve ever lugged around a heavy backpack, you know how unpleasant it can be. Your shoulders ache, your back hurts, and your head feels like it’s about to explode. But did you know that carrying a heavy backpack can actually cause headaches? That’s right – carrying a heavy backpack can put pressure on your neck and head, leading to headaches.
Backpack-related headaches are a surprisingly common affliction, especially among school children, hikers, and adolescents. While the occasional headache is nothing to worry about, chronic backpack-related headaches can be a sign of a more serious problem.
If your child is complaining of headaches that seem to be linked to carrying a backpack, it’s important to pay attention and take action to relieve the pain and prevent further damage. But don’t worry, there are ways to prevent this from happening. This article has some effective tips on how to avoid headaches, lower back pain, and shoulder and neck pain when carrying a heavy backpack.
Can Carrying a Heavy Backpack Cause Headaches
Yes, carrying a heavy backpack can cause headaches, neck pain, and other muscle injuries. Research has shown that carrying a backpack that weighs more than 10% of your body weight can cause health issues like headaches, neck pain, lower back, and even migraines.
This issue is mainly noticed in hikers who have to carry all the necessary hiking equipment and school students who have to carry lots of books and other school essentials.
Why Heavy Backpack cause Headaches? – Causes
Carrying a heavy backpack can cause headaches for a number of reasons.
- The extra weight can cause strain on the neck and shoulders, which can lead to headaches.
- When you carry a heavy backpack, it can cause your posture to change. This can lead to tension in your neck and shoulders, which can cause headaches.
- Carrying a heavy backpack can cause your head and neck to tilt forward, which can also lead to headaches.
You can also read these 9 reasons why a backpack hurts your shoulders, back, and neck with some effective solutions.
Bad Effects of Carrying a Heavy Backpack
People who don’t care about the right weight, the right size, and the right carrying position; mostly complain about shoulder soreness, head pain, and back pain problems.
Below are the effects that can cause due to caring a heavy backpack:
- Shoulder pain
- Lower Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Pain in the legs
- Can Lead to a Poor Back Posture
Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can cause a person to lean to one side to compensate for the uneven weight. This can curve the spine. Over time, this can cause lower and upper back pain, strained shoulders and neck, and even functional scoliosis (curvature of the spine). Source: mayoclinichealthsystem.org
Tips to Carry a Backpack More comfortably and easily
1. Consider the Construction
If your backpack is not comfortable, then try to make it secure if possible. Add extra padding to backpack shoulder straps and use wide straps. Otherwise, get a new one according to your ease.
2. Get a Pack with a Waist or Hip Belt
Choose a bag with a waist and hip belt. A hip and waist belt helps us easily fit it on the back and carry 60-80% of your pack’s weight.
3. Limit the Weight
The bag should be checked every day and weights that are not needed should be discarded. As a general guideline, the average person can carry a backpack weighing up to 20% of their body weight without too much difficulty.
4. Wear in a Right Way
The right way to carry a backpack is to wear it on both shoulders. This helps distribute the weight evenly and prevents the backpack from slipping off.
5. Do Exercise
Those who have to carry heavy backpacks should do exercise. Exercise can also help you to reduce your pain but first consult a fitness enthusiast. I can’t suggest you a better exercise for your problem.
6. Properly Adjust the Straps
If the straps are too loose that your back is hanging on your hip can put extra force on your shoulders. So, properly tightening the straps can help properly distribute weight on your body.
7. Try a Wheeled Backpack
That’s a great solution for those who are experiencing headaches or any other problems, can use a pack with wheels. This can help you drag all your weight on wheels and put it on your back when you feel comfortable.
What is the Right Weight for a Backpack?
Some people suggest not lifting more than 10% of your body weight. But, if you have strong and healthy muscles and you pick them in the right posture, then 10% or 15% rules are not exact for you. On the other hand, if you don’t have strong body fitness then this 10% weight of your body may be overweight for you.
Does a Heavy Backpack Ruin Posture?
Yes, carrying a heavy backpack can ruin posture over time. The weight of the backpack pulls on the shoulders and upper back, causing the spine to round forward. This can lead to back and neck pain, and may even cause changes in the alignment of the spine.
Is Carrying a Heavy Backpack cause Shortness?
There is no direct correlation between carrying a heavy backpack and height shortness. There is no evidence that weightlifting, or carrying heavy backpacks will stunt your growth. But walking with a heavy backpack is not safe and it’s quite bad for your back posture, nerves, and muscles.
How To Train To Carry A Heavy Pack | Rucksack
If you plan to carry a heavy backpack, it is important to train your body to be able to handle the extra weight. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Start by carrying a light backpack. Fill it with items that are easy to carry, such as clothes or a few books.
- Gradually add weight to the backpack. Start with 5-10 pounds, and then work your way up.
- Make sure to distribute the weight evenly. Avoid putting all of the weight on one shoulder.
- Use proper form when carrying the backpack. Bend at the knees, and keep the backpack close to your body.
- Take breaks often, and don’t overdo them. Carrying a heavy backpack can be tough on your body, so it is important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed.
You can also read a detailed guide on how to Carry a Heavy Backpack more easily.
For those who are hikers, I have written a detailed guide after deep research on how to Properly Wear a Hiking Backpack. It will help you carry your hiking backpack easily without any injuries.
When Is a Backpack Too Heavy?
It depends on your physical health and fitness. If you have strong and healthy muscles and you pick any weight as you feel comfortable but in the right posture.
As said: “Dr. Rome recommends children should not carry more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their backpacks.”
Can a Backpack Cause Migraine?
While a backpack itself may not cause migraine, the weight of the backpack and the way it is worn can cause neck and shoulder pain which may lead to migraine.
Can a heavy backpack cause scoliosis?
Some experts believe that carrying a heavy backpack could potentially contribute to the development of scoliosis, especially in children. This is because carrying a heavy backpack can put extra stress on the spine, which could potentially lead to the development of scoliosis.
Can a heavy backpack cause nerve damage?
A heavy backpack can cause nerve damage if the person carrying the backpack does not have good posture. The weight of the backpack can pull the person backward and cause them to lean forward. This can cause the person to put more pressure on their spine and nerves.