Effects of backpacks on students: measurement of cervical and shoulder posture

Aust J Physiother. 2001;47(2):110-6. doi: 10.1016/s0004-9514(14)60302-0.


The aims of this pilot study were to determine whether the weight of a backpack, its position on the spine or time carried affected adolescents cervical and shoulder posture. Standing posture measured from the sagittal and frontal planes of 13 students was recorded photographically under several load carrying conditions. Cervical and shoulder position angles were calculated and compared. Results revealed that both backpack weight and time carried influenced cervical and shoulder posture. Forward head posture increased when carrying a backpack, especially one with a heavy load. Carrying a backpack weighing 15% of body weight appeared to be too heavy to maintain standing posture for adolescents. These findings have implications for future load carrying studies in adolescents.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Back
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neck / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Shoulder / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Weight-Bearing*