The Prism: Every Side of the Story

Is School Weighing You Down…Literally?

From binders filled with papers, bulky textbooks and overloaded folders there is a lot of weight students must carry around in school everyday. Recent studies now show that a heavy backpack could cause back pain and other back issues in the future.

Many students wear their backpacks when commuting to school and when walking to classes which can amount to a lot of time spent weighing down your spine. Studies have shown that this habit of extensive time with a heavy backpack can lead to many problems for children and young adults. This includes slouching, back pain and potentially future spinal issues. During a 2014 study, the US National Library of Medicine found that “Increasing backpack loads significantly compressed lumbar disc heights” and “significantly increased lumbar asymmetry.” Meaning that a heavy backpack not only can compress your spine, it can also alter the alignment of your spine.

LWA students seem to relate to this heavy backpack problem. According to John Malinka (CO 2020), his backpack is “way too heavy” and he “has back pain every time” he takes his backpack off. Other students agree and when asked if her backpack was too heavy,  Allison Siegel (CO 2019), simply said “yes.” She also added “ It gives me tons of back pain.”

One solution to this problem would be to use a locker to offload the heavy materials you don’t need and then pick them up when you do need them. However with only two minutes to get to class some students have opted out of the locker and just decide to carry around all of their materials all day. When asked if she uses a locker, Siegel said that she uses her locker only to store her blazer, adding “I like to have everything with me.” Other students echoed this, “I do use a locker but I don’t put any books in there, I only use it for basketball clothes,” said Malinka when asked the same question. However not all students opt out of using their lockers and their backs are better off , “My backpack used to be extremely heavy and it affected my posture. Since then, I have used my locker,” said Kyra Milord (CO 2021).

Another solution is to lighten the load by transferring all of your notes to a computer or a tablet and some LWA students have adopted this system. “Laptops allow me to take more efficient and organized notes in a timely manner,” according to Jake Davis (CO 2019). However there might be concerns as some might not want to carry around a valuable item all day such as a computer or others might not have their own laptops.

Whether a student chooses to carry a backpack, hold their materials in their lockers or transfer all the information onto a computer, it is important to note the effects a backpack could have.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20023607
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