Back-to-School Back Pain

Witschool backpackh schools around the country starting back up, parents need to focus on the potential dangers associated with backpacks. While backpacks make carrying multiple books, folders and notebooks convenient, they can also impose too much weight on a child’s body, causing strains in the back, neck and shoulders.

The long term effects of carrying an overloaded backpack can include:

  • Distortion of the natural curves in the middle and lower backs, causing muscle strain and irritation to the spine joints and the rib cage
  • Rounding of the shoulders
  • Reduction in balance and increased potential for falling caused by the child leaning forward to bear the weight

In 2011, nearly 14,000 children ages 5 to 18 were hospitalized for backpack-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The problem has become so widespread that the California State Assembly passed legislation that would force school districts to develop ways of reducing the weight of students’ backpacks. Similar legislation is being considered in other states as well.

What Can You Do?
The American Chiropractic Asociation offers the following tips to help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household:

  • Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight.
  • Distribute weight evenly. Load heaviest items closest to the back and balance materials using individualized compartments.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps and a hip belt if it is available. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  • Wide, padded straps are very important to reduce strain on shoulders.
  • Shoulder straps should be adjusted to fit your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.

If your child experiences any pain or discomfort from backpack use, schedule an appointment with me today. We can discuss how to reduce the load on the body, exercises designed to help children develop strong muscles, and how good nutrition, posture and sleeping habits can help.

Call Family Chiropractic & Wellness today for an appointment to discuss a custom action plan to help alleviate your pain and achieve your optimal health goals at 812-373-3376.