If you are a Harry Potter fan then you know about the “undetectable extension charm.” This is the spell that helps you fit every object and piece of luggage into a small bag – with no increase in weight! Hermione managed to fit items for every eventuality in hers.
In the real world where bag-related back pain is endemic, we can only wish it were a reality. Certainly most of us have vertebrae screaming out for such a spell.
Many of us like to be as prepared as Hermione but that would mean carrying a huge amount of weight around so we have to think again about what is really necessary to take with us.
A study conducted in 2016 has shown that 60% of students have pain due to backpacks and bags. But it’s not always the weight of the bag that should be blamed. It’s how long the load is carried and how it’s carried that are the primary causes of pain.
Ways to save your back
Since there is no way that we can cast the extension charm on everything we stuff into our bags or backpacks, there are simple yet significant ways to preserve the health of your spine.
1.Always use a backpack if possible rather than a bag with a single strap.
2. Limit load to about 15% of your body weight. But doctors recommend a maximum of 25 pounds regardless of how big you are. So, what weighs 25 pounds?
• 25 quaffles (if you’re a quidditch fan you’ll know this is the same as 25 size 5 footballs)
• one 19-inch flat screen TV
• one average-sized 2 year old
• 12½ bags of sugar
3. Distribute the weight evenly. Wear shoulder straps over both shoulders. Look for features like wide, padded shoulder straps. And don’t forget to use those waist belts. They’re there to shift the load to your trunk and hip.
4. Keep the load close to your back. Arrange your things by placing the heaviest closest to your back and never let your pack hang more than 4 inches below your waist.
5. Only carry what you need. Use a locker if you have one available.
Remember, small steps add up and your spine will thank you one day!