Backpack_sqPhoto by Lisa Goulet

Carrying too-heavy backpacks raises our risk for spinal injury and neck strain. But those of us who can’t avoid lugging bulky items to and from work or school can follow a few tips to better protect our vertebrae. Use both backpack straps to evenly distribute weight across the shoulders and place heavier objects at the bottom of your bag before you begin your commute. Keep the weight as close to your bod as possible to reduce the amount of injury-causing torque.

Takeaway: Take a load off your spine by using both straps and keeping a backpack’s weight no more than 15 percent of your bodyweight.

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“A chip on the shoulder is too heavy a piece of baggage to carry through life” — John A. Hannah.