Awful News4Everyone Who Carried a Heavy Backpack in School: It Made Us Shrink
Even if your spine stays straight through years of hauling your life on your back, compressing the spine by carrying a heavy backpack can actually affect how tall you’ll grow to be — and how tall you’ll stay.
There are bones in your lower spine called lumbar disks. When we’re young, the disks are full of water, which makes our spines move more easily. The disks contribute to about an inch of our height. As we age, that water starts to dry up. It’s why, as Sandhu describes, between the ages of 20 and 60 we’re likely to lose an inch to an inch and a half in height from that water leaving your spine. That’s just normal wear and tear.
When you add an extremely heavy backpack, five days a week for over a decade, we’re basically crushing those water-filled gaps, compressing the spine with all the extra weight. A backpack accelerates the rate at which we lose water in the lumbar disks, causing us to shrink a little bit more quickly.