Back to school! It’s that time of year when we gear up our children to take on the rigors of academia and waking up before noon. But before we load up those backpacks, I wanted to share some information to help make this school year a healthy success. Elementary, middle, and high school students must often carry backpacks that weigh enough to cause chronic back pain, poor posture, and even decreased lung volume. Recent research supports that children carrying backpack loads of more than ten percent of their bodyweight have a greater risk of developing back pain and related issues.
There are several preventative measures that may help reduce and avoid back pain in school-aged children. The best way to prevent back pain is to avoid carrying heavy loads. If this cannot be avoided, then taking advantage of locker breaks and only carrying items necessary for a couple of classes is very helpful. The American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Chiropractic Association offer these additional safe backpack etiquette tips:
- Avoid carrying over 10 percent of their bodyweight in their backpack.
- Place the heaviest objects at the back of the pack.
- Make sure the items fit as snugly as possible to minimize back pain due to shifting weight.
- Adjust the shoulder straps so they fit snugly over your child’s shoulders and the backpack doesn’t drag your child backward.
- Children should avoid carrying backpacks slung over one shoulder.
- Encourage your child to carry only necessary items in their backpack.
- Look for backpacks with helpful features such as multiple compartments for even weight distribution, padded straps to protect the shoulders and neck, and waist belt.
Chiropractic Care Can Help! If your child is experiencing back pain, contact Dr. Wong, your local chiropractor. Chiropractic care benefits many adults and children with spinal discomfort. Tailored treatment plans can be created specifically for your spinal health goals.