9 Reasons a Backpack Hurt your Shoulders, Back, and Neck – [SOLUTIONS]

Hurting backpack Solutions

When you don’t carry a backpack the right way, it can harm your body, like your shoulders, lower back, and neck. The people who don’t care about the right weight, the right size, and the right carrying position; mostly complain about shoulder soreness and back pain problems.

We use a backpack at every age of life. Backpacks are beneficial gears to hold and carry our daily essentials easily from one place to another. But, we need some precautions about choosing the suitable pack, overpacking, and right carrying position. In this way, we can save our bodies from injuries or pain.

There are different cases of hurting a backpack to your shoulders, neck, and lower back. A heavy backpack, carrying it in the wrong position, using only one strap, or an uncomfortable pack can hurt your shoulders, neck, and lower back.

When you feel such kinds of problems, you must diagnose the reason and take action. If your child complains that the backpack is too heavy or the straps are hurting, then you should resolve the issue immediately. 

So, here I’m discussing the causes of a hurting backpack with practical solutions. These are found primarily in hikers, small-age students, and older persons.

Reasons for a Hurting Backpack

So many people ask why is my shoulder sore after backpacking. Here are some possible reasons for a hurting backpack:

1. A Too Heavy Backpack

heavy backpack

Our spine is made of 33 bones known as vertebrae. Between the vertebrae, some disks act as natural shock absorbers. When we put a heavy weight on our shoulders, it forces our shoulders down and backward. As a result, you bend your back, lean forward, or lean back.

So, a heavy backpack that your body can’t bear will hurt your shoulders, muscles, back, and maybe neck. You can read a detailed guide on how to Carry a Heavy Backpack with Safety Tips.

2. Wrong Carrying Position

wrong carrying

Backpacks are designed for safely carrying your daily essentials. The wrong way of carrying a backpack for a long time can also be harmful to your body. Here are three basic wrong positions which people use to look stylish.

3. Using Only One Strap

using one strap backpack

Using only one strap is a sling bag style. A sling bag is a bag that contains one main strap, one end of the strap is attached to the top of the bag, and the other end is attached to the bottom of the bag. On the other hand, a backpack contains two shoulder straps that divide the load on both shoulders.

4. Too Low on Back

too loo backpack

A backpack too low on the back is also a wrong carrying position. It is a good idea to adjust the bag’s straps if it hangs low on your back.

5. Too High on Back

too high backpack

A backpack that is more tightened and looks too high on your back, it may cause hurting your shoulder and neck. You have to adjust in the middle of your back as to where you feel comfortable.

6. Uncomfortable Straps

A backpack with uncomfortable straps can cause shoulder pain, soreness, and muscle stretching. A pack with narrow/slim straps, none padded, narrow, or fixed straps can also cause pain problems.

Read more: How to make Backpacks more Comfortable?

7. Uncomfortable Back of Backpack

If the back of your pack is not comfortable, it can also cause a back problem. A comfortable backpack contains a padded back.

8. Excessive Use of Backpack

It is another cause of hurting that most people don’t discuss. If you wear a backpack for long hours, there is an 80% chance that you will feel tired and in pain. Walking a long distance with a heavy backpack is not a good sign for your muscles.

9. Not Right Fit

If your backpack is not fit according to your height, then it can disturb your journey. A backpack with a 21 to 30 liter or 12″ capacity is an ideal size for kindergarten. A 15″ is ideal for teenagers and 17″ for adults.

Effects of Carrying a Heavy Backpack

Shoulder Pain from Backpack

The first main effect you may face while you are carrying a heavy backpack is shoulder pain. Your shoulder muscles can affect.

Lower Back Pain and Poor Back Posture

When you carry a heavy backpack the wrong way, it can cause lower back pain. Your back will make a lousy posture like a lean forward style.

Neck pain or Headache from Backpack

A heavy backpack may cause neck pain and headache also because it is between your both shoulders.

Read also: Duffel Bag Vs. Backpack Vs. Suitcase

Essential Tips to Avoid Injuries Carrying a Backpack

1. Consider the Construction

The first main point you need to work on is to check the construction of your backpack. If your backpack is not comfortable, then try to make it secure if possible. Add extra padding to backpack shoulder straps. Otherwise, get a new one according to your ease.

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.

Having multiple compartments in a backpack can also help distribute the weight more evenly on your shoulder and back. Choose a  backpack with a comfortable padded back.

3. Limit the Weight of the Backpack

The question is, what is the weight that we can say this backpack is heavy? When you are having difficulty lifting a backpack by yourself, it means the bag is heavy. “Some people suggest not lifting more than 10% of your body weight. But, if you have strong and healthy muscles and you pick it in the right posture, then 10% or 15% rules are not exact for you.”

So, limit the weight and carry only what is necessary for your trips or school.

4. Wear in a Right Way

Always try to wear both straps of your backpack. Using only one strap is not a good idea. You may look stylish, but with time, it can cause serious problems. Use waist and chest straps if available.  Also, walk in the proper posture. Keep your head up, stand up straight and do not lean forward or lean back.

5. Properly Adjust the Straps

The straps are too loose that your back is hanging on your hip can put extra force on your shoulders. Or if it is too tight, it can also torcher your body. So, properly tighten the straps where you feel comfortable.

6. Use a Convertible Backpack

Some backpacks are designed with a convertible carrying option. A backpack with a side strap could be used as a hand-carry bag or messenger bag. It can help you when you feel discomfort or any pain in your muscles.

7. Try a Wheeled Backpack

It is ab best alternative when a backpack hurts your body. You can carry a backpack with a rolling option. This is the best solution for your children and even for adults. There are several different rolling backpacks with removable wheels available online.

8. Exercise your Shoulder

An 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.


How do I Make my Backpack Straps more Comfortable?

Take a piece of fleece, wrap it around a shoulder strap, and use safety pins to secure it.

Can a Backpack Sore my Shoulders?

Yes, If you don’t carry it in the right way.

What Backpack is Best for Your Back?

A medium-sized backpack with padded shoulder and padded back.

Are our Heavy Backpacks Harmful to the Body?

Yes, but if you are physically fit and have practice carrying heavyweight, then you can survive.

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