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Back to School: Can carrying a backpack hurt your kids back?

Posted Sep 30th, 2019 in Health & Fitness, Conditions & Treatment, Children

Yes. There is a risk. The size, shape and weight of your childrens' backpacks can all contribute to sore joints or muscles and back pain. 

Parents: Are you hearing your school-age children complaining of back pain?

A backpack is as much as a part of school life as homework. Unfortunately, the weight of books, lunches and other gear stuffed into an improperly worn backpack may lead to sore joints and muscles.

Too often, children are carrying backpacks that are much to heavy for their body size. And, combined with the potential of not being worn correctly, these heavy backpacks cause hurt.

What problems can arise from oversized or mis-used school backpacks?

There are a number of health problems that can arise if your childs backpack is over sized, over weight, poorly designed or not worn properly.

Pressure on The Spine – If the load is too heavy it can pull your childs body backward. Then he or she compensates by leaning forward (at hips or in back) which creates extra compression or wrong curves to spine.

Creating Bad Posture – If load is too heavy the forward lean also causes rounded shoulders and curved upper back, resulting in poor posture, which also causes stress

Muscle & Spine Strain – If your child tends to carry his or her backpack on one shoulder, this causes the body to lean – and creates different strain on spine and body’s muscles.

Shoulder & Arm Pain – Narrow straps, or straps with little padding can lead to shoulder pain, pinched nerves, or compressed circulation/blood flow. This may cause pain referred down arms toward hands.

How to choose & use a school backpack properly.

In general, the bigger the backpack... the more stuff can fit in it....  the more likely it is to overload and cause injury. Here are a few tips to help parents make wise decisions.

Ensure a Proper Fit – The backpack should fit between your child's shoulder and hips. Make sure it's not too long and doesn't hang to the back of their knees!

Make Sure the Straps are Right – A bag with two wide padded straps will help distribute the weight properly. Sling style or one shoulder bags can cause miss alignment and balance issues.

Use Compartments – Pockets are your friend... the more the better! Not only do pocket compartments help keep the contents organized, they also help to distribute the weight properly.

Wear it Properly – Keep heavier items closer to the body and at the bottom of the bag. This will help to reduce strain on the shoulders and minimize the impact on their balance. Adjustable straps can also help distribute weight

Lighten the Load - Pack what’s needed and leave the extra stuff at school! The weight of his or her backpack should never be more than 10 - 15% of their body weight.

Is you child complaining of pain from his or her backpack?

Let us help. Book an appointment and bring the backpack. We'll examine your child and provide solutions so you adjust the backpack to relieve the stress on his or her body.

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Have a question? Our team is here to help.

(613) 831-4054