Advice: How to avoid the back pack blues

We live in an era when technology and the internet are gradually replacing actual books. However, textbooks are still prevalent and with them, book bags.

The heavy textbooks, laptop and loads of paper, all shoved into one backpack weighing on your back all day can make for an exhausting experience and cause pain.

Hilbert freshman Heather Gerken said she endures back pain on a daily basis.

She has started to visit a chiropractor due to back pain caused by the backpack she carries throughout the day.

“Backpacks hurt your shoulders,” Gerken said. “I feel like I’m very hunched. I feel like I slouch, but I also feel like I’m hunched all the time. It’s just heavy and it just like pulls your shoulders down.”

Gerken said that she had to carry a backpack in high school also, but not as much as she does now.

“For college I was like no way am I spending like $60 on a nice backpack,” she said. “I’ve had this since like sophomore year and actually it’s okay, but oh my god it’s really thin and it pulls on you.”

Gerken said she wishes she spent more money on a better backpack.

“I would definitely try some stretches at home to prevent my pain,” she added.

Lauren Orynawka, who has earned her doctorate in physical therapy, said backpacks cause problems for many of her patients.

“A heavy backpack pushes down on the shoulders and shoulder blades putting them in an incorrect postural position that can lead to scapular winging, spine curve known as thoracic kyphosis and the improper use of certain musculature,” Orynawka said.

The cause of this pain is the poor posture students have as a result, she added.

“Poor posture leads to the tendons, muscles and ligaments to be overused causing pain,” Orynawka said.

Orynawka treats patients with back pain almost every day and knows exactly how to prevent and treat it.

“A person who is suffering from back pain needs to learn how to properly stretch and strengthen,” she said. “Modifying how often you carry the backpack or even the weight of it can decrease back pain.”