BACKGROUND: Heavy backpacks have been associated with various postural changes and consequently musculoskeletal disorders.
OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the immediate responses of varying backpack loads on cranio-vertebral angle (CVA), sagittal shoulder angle (SSA) and trunk forward lean (TFL) of young adults between the ages of 18-25 years.
METHODS: This was a 3×3 cross over randomized controlled study with repeated measures among a convenience sample of young adults (n = 30; 50% male, 50% female). Each participant in a standing posture was assessed at four different loads: no backpack, carrying backpack of 5%, 10%, and 15% of body weight (BW). A sagittal photograph was taken of the area of the body corresponding to spinal angle during each of these test conditions to allow for later analysis of postural deviations. Comparisons of the mean deviations of the different postural angles from baseline and between test conditions were made using ANOVA at p≤0.05.
RESULTS: Generally, there was a trend toward a decrease in the CVA and TFL with increasing backpack loads. Specifically, a significant decrease was seen for TFL at10% and 15% BW loads when compared with no load condition. In contrast, the decrease in CVA was only significant between no load condition and 15% body weight load. The SSA remained unchanged with backpack weight within 15% BW.
CONCLUSION: Whereas the SSA of young adults may not be upset by an acute loading with a backpack within 15% of body weight, a 15% BW backpack led to more forward posture of the head on the neck. In addition, backpack load as low as 10% BW is enough to cause an immediate forward lean of the trunk.
- biomechanical phenomena
- cross-over studies
- young adult