Can A Heavy Backpack Cause Scoliosis?

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Scoliosis is painful and the pain can aggravate if you carry a heavy backpack regularly. But can a heavy backpack cause scoliosis? Let our experts help you out with the answers

Scoliosis is a spinal disorder that leads to the development of a curved spine. It usually occurs without any apparent reasons or cause.

The term scoliosis is derived from the Latin word “Skolios,” which means curved or bent. Physicians may use the letter “S” or “C” to relate to the shape or degree of the spine’s curve. If a spine is curved more than ten degrees, it is viewed as scoliosis.  

Can A Heavy Backpack Cause Scoliosis

Scoliosis is not caused by carrying heavy loads on the back or shoulders, nor is it caused by any sports injuries of hiking gear. Let’s study the topic in-depth to understand more about the subject. 

Types Of Scoliosis

There are two types of Scoliosis conditions. These are Structural and Non-Structural Scoliosis.

When the person knows about the exact cause of scoliosis, it is then divided into two categories, namely structural and non-structural.

Structural Scoliosis

The significant difference between the two conditions is that structural scoliosis leads to a spinal curve that is irreversible and rigid.

Some of the Causes of structural scoliosis include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Tumors
  • Traumatic injuries 
  • Infections
  • Congenital disabilities like hemivertebra
  • Muscular dystrophy, etc 
  • It can also be degenerative. It usually occurs in older adults and is often related to arthritic changes within the spine due to age factors. It may also occur due to the weakening of ligaments or tissues placed around or are connected to the spine.
Can A Heavy Backpack Cause Scoliosis

Non-Structural Scoliosis

In non-structural scoliosis, the spine usually appears bent, but it is mostly fully functional. It is also known as functional scoliosis. It is temporary and depends on the cause in significant cases. 

Some of the causes of non-structural scoliosis can be: 

  • Hysterical (a condition found in rare cases related to psychological disorder)
  • A difference in the length of the legs
  • Muscular spasms and pain
  • Postural 
  • Sciatica (related to nerve pain)
  • Appendicitis or inflammatory conditions

Scoliosis becomes more prominent during early adolescence and can become severe with age. Females are more prone to develop a severe form of scoliosis than males. One should consult an orthopedic surgeon if scoliosis is treatable or not, depending upon the sufferer’s condition. 

You might like to read: Can An Inversion Table Help Scoliosis

Can Carrying A Backpack Lead To Scoliosis?

As of the latest research, there is no connection between carrying backpacks or load, even if heavy or not, leading to scoliosis.

Scoliosis symptoms involve uneven shoulders, waist, or even one hip larger than the other one. Also, a shoulder blade may be more prominent on one side than the other one. Scoliosis is usually a condition leading to the spine curving sideways.  

It can affect people of any age. But is it commonly found in kids aged eleven years and above. It majorly affects kids who are majorly into puberty years, though it can also affect the elderly.

Females have a higher risk of developing curved spines, and genetics plays a significant role. If any of your family members have scoliosis, there are chances that you might get it. 

Can A Heavy Backpack Cause Scoliosis

The symptoms of scoliosis aren’t always the same, but individuals with mild cases usually lean towards the left or right side more or have uneven hips, shoulders, and collar bones. Only a few cases require surgery, whereas scoliosis doesn’t get severe in the majority of cases.

Carrying backpacks or heavy loads don’t cause scoliosis, but carrying heavy loads on your back can usually cause other types of spinal disorders and back problems. This is majorly true if the backpacks are heavy or lean forward to make up for the extra weight, which leads to misalignment of the spine.

Excessive use of heavy backpacks also leads to muscle weakness and tiredness, leading to a disordered spine, bad posture. Many other conditions can cause scoliosis in kids and teens, as these are when the spine develops, and they are more prone to scoliosis.

Can A Heavy Backpack Cause Scoliosis

Effect Of Carrying Heavy Backpack On Spine

Carrying heavy backpacks affect the spinal curve in the following ways:

  •  It usually leads to weight on either side of the shoulders, leading to the leaning of the body towards the dominant side.
  • Due to the bag’s weight, the person’s body starts leaning, disturbing the maintenance of an upright posture.
  • Heavy items of heavyweight usually affect one’s natural gait.
  • It can also lead to muscle tightness or stiffness in the neck and shoulder area, thereby disturbing the body’s regular functioning and reducing the motion of the neck. 

Does Carrying A Backpack Regularly Leads To Severe Scoliosis?

Yes, usually carrying a heavyweight on your back aggravates scoliosis and leads to worsening of spinal curvature. Carrying extra weight on the back can damage an already curved spine which leads to a mild case of scoliosis to become worse and may require surgery later on.

 The following are some tips and tricks to prevent scoliosis from severing: 

Can A Heavy Backpack Cause Scoliosis
  •  A backpack should not be more than ten to fifteen percent of a person’s total body weight.
  • One should always choose a lightweight backpack with hip and waist strips leading to distribution of weight evenly.
  • People with scoliosis should usually prefer carrying belongings in a wheeled backpack or luggage bag.
  • Use both the straps to carry your backpack and ensure that they are firm enough to carry the weight. It should not be loose and dangling.
  • Try to choose a backpack with thick and padded straps instead of thin and narrow straps for extra support. 
  • Usually, try to distribute your stuff in different pockets of the bag if possible. 
  • Mostly prefer a bag according to your body size as if you choose a large backpack, it leads to the risk of overpacking, eventually leading to severe back pain.

You might like to read: Can You Get Scoliosis From Bad Posture

Wrapping Up!

Heavy backpacks generally don’t cause scoliosis. But it can aggravate the condition if you are suffering from it.

Preventing back injury by strengthening your core. Strengthening the muscles of the torso (muscles of the lower back and abdomen) is one way of preventing injury.

Some activities that can help strengthen the core muscles include weight training, yoga, abdominal crunch, bridge, segmentation rotation, building abs, etc.