Backpacks for Bad Backs?

About 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. Worldwide, back pain is one of the leading causes of disability, preventing people from working and participating in daily activities. Back pain affects people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly.


One cause of back pain is using backpacks not designed to adequately support backs, leading to strained muscles and tendons in your back. Also, cushions of tissue called discs separate the bony vertebrae of your spine. If moved out of place, bulge, or are injured, these discs can result in pain and even become debilitating.


Backpacks are known by other names such as knapsack, rucksack, haversack, pack, bookrack, or book bag. A backpack can be a frameless sack carried on the back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders; or have an external and internal frame. Backpacks are often made of canvas, nylon, mesh, or leather and have become the primary way for many people to carry their necessary items.


People that regularly use backpacks include:

  • Students

  • Hikers

  • Campers

  • Skiers

  • Yoga gurus

  • Athletes

  • Travelers

  • Runners

  • Bikers

  • Preppers

History of the Backpack

Backpacks are traced to prehistoric times when cavemen carried their bounty on their backs in bags made of animal hide. In 1908, Norwegian inventor Ole Bergan created a design that did not compromise the wearer’s comfort. He bent a piece of juniper wood to replicate the contour of a person’s back on which hung a soft cloth bag. A Colorado businessman, Gerry Cunningham, invented the first zip-up backpack in 1938.


For many years, school children carried their schoolbooks in their hands until JanSport introduced nylon, a lightweight backpacks in 1967. It then became a must-have for elementary, high school, and college students.


Evolution of Backpacks<