Back-to-school Back Pain
Back to school means new classes, new friends, and plenty of new textbooks to lug around. Unfortunately, the latter can also result in aches and pains in your back and shoulders. As a teenager, you certainly shouldn’t have to be dealing with back pain already.
Here are some tips to help you recover if you’re experiencing back pain from going back to school.
What’s In The Bag?
Obviously, one of the top causes of back-to-school back pain is an overloaded backpack. Your backpack should not weigh more than 10% of your body weight, so if you’re 150 pounds, your backpack should be 15 pounds or less.
Go through your bag and determine which textbooks you need to be bringing in. There’s a good chance that your classes only focus on specific units a few times per week. Certain days, you might not need a certain textbook.
Don’t worry, it’s easy to remember. Make sure to buy a removable book cover for your textbooks, or make a paper bag one, and secure a post-it note or index card to the front using clear tape. The card will tell you the textbook title, class, and what days of the week you need to bring it.
Some textbooks can also be left in your locker at home since many school websites offer online versions that you can use for homework. It might be a pain to log into your computer and use the online version sometimes, but it’s better than lugging that weight back and forth every day, right? Leave any textbook you can in your locker at school. Or, if your classroom has extra textbooks, anticipate on using one of them and leave your assigned one at home. That should save a little bit of weight.
In addition, you can try to consolidate your notebooks as much as possible. Studying might be easier if you use one giant notebook for the entire year, but the weight will quickly add up. Instead, get one smaller notebook and change it out every quarter. Simply write on the front the class name and which quarter the notes originated from (first, second, third, or fourth). When it comes time to study at the end of the year, your notes will be organized for each class.
Sit Up Straight
Not all of your back pain is originating from that heavy backpack of yours. In fact, it’s more likely that the problem as a whole is coming from poor posture.
Whether you’re standing at the bus stop, sitting on the bus, slouching on your way to class, or leaning over at your desk all day, poor posture can really take a toll on you. It’s important that you become conscious of your posture and stand up straight all the time—especially when you’re toting your backpack around.
In class, be encouraged to sit up straight and tall. This will encourage constant good posture and it will soon become a habit. Plus, your teacher will give you props for always being attentive.
Do the same on the bus and get in the habit of silently checking your posture every so often. Before you know it, you’ll be standing a few inches taller (slouching can make you look around three inches shorter) and your back pain will disappear!