Wear Your Backpack Right Or You May Hurt Yourself

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Biology textbook, geometry binder, English folder, history notebook...that's a lot of stuff to lug around in your schoolbag. Before you head back to school, Dr. Andrew Casden, associate director of New York's Beth Israel's Spine Institute, is giving you tips on avoiding neck, back, and shoulder pain caused by wearing a heavy backpack.

"Overloaded backpacks can lead to fatigue, muscle irritation, and tiny muscle tears that bring kids into the office with pain," Dr. Casden explains. "Students should know the proper way to wear their backpacks to avoid pain."

Here's how to prevent that pain in the neck. The weight of your schoolbag shouldn't be more than 20 percent of your body weight at the max. It's always a good idea to bend your knees when picking up heavy items, instead of bending over and straining your back.

Avoid wearing a backpack on just one shoulder -- using both straps balances out the pressure -- but if you love the look of a messenger bag then continually switch sides while wearing it. Also, your heaviest books and other items should always go at the back of your bag and closest to your body.

One last tip: your backpack shouldn't fall below your waist. If it does, you're putting excess strain on your shoulders. Check out our gallery to preview the cutest back-to-school backpack styles.

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