Main Article Content

Jonathan Bryson
Lori Beth Bryson
Brent Russell


Adult, Equipment Design, Backpacks, Musculoskeletal Pain, Back Injury, Postural Balance


Objective: The use of backpacks by students may contribute to a number of painful conditions, although there are design features that help make backpacks more ergonomic. The purpose of this study was to investigate styles, features, and weights of backpacks commonly used by chiropractic students.

Methods: DC students who regularly used a backpack as a book bag were invited to complete a survey and have their backpacks inspected. The survey asked for demographic information, perceived comfort level, and about typical backpack load. Backpacks were inspected for frame type, overall condition, and types of features (e.g., hip belts and load-distribution straps.)

Results: Thirty-nine eligible students participated. Their loaded backpacks weighed 6.3 kg, on average. Only 1 had a frame, and only 1 had a hip belt. Several had sternum straps or compression straps, but few students used them. Only 1 student considered ergonomic support in acquiring their backpack; however, only a few reported their packs to be uncomfortable.

Conclusion: While chiropractors, as a profession, have expressed concern over injuries attributable to backpacks, and previous research has suggested structural features to make backpacks more ergonomic, chiropractic students may not apply those suggestions.


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