Pain in the back(pack)

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Choose fabric or paper lunch bag, not metal lunchbox

Shop for heavy padding on straps; waist straps, too, for heaviest days

Check empty weight before purchase; it will only get heavier

Buy folders instead of heavy binders

Back experts' advice:

Remove what you don't need every night before bed

Use online books at home; leave heavy texts at school or splurge on extra copies of heaviest books to keep at home

Use both shoulder straps, not just one

Ignore peer pressure and use backpacks with wheels

Put heaviest objects at bottom and closest to your back

Adjust straps so load sits low on the back, 1 to 2 inches above waist

shopellen@tribune.com<
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