Across the nation, millions of children are heading back to school this month. Along with the new classes and teachers, come the new textbooks to lug around. Most kids wear a backpack to carry their books but studies have shown that overweight backpacks have become a major contributing factor in causing back pain in children.
According to a recent study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2010 and 2011, backpack injuries in children (5 to 18 years old) increased by 6.5 percent. A heavy weighted backpack can distort the natural curves of the spine and cause muscle strain to the spinal joints. When a child is carrying a backpack that is too heavy, he or she will lean forward. This may cause the spine to compress in an unnatural way and trigger neck, shoulder, and back pain.
What can you do?
The following tips can help your kids prevent backpack pain:
- Choose a backpack with wide padded straps and wear both shoulder straps. Carrying the pack by one shoulder can cause disproportionate weight distribution, which may lead to neck and muscle spasms, and back pain.
- Reduce the load of books. Instead of carrying books around all day, ask you child to only carry the books needed for a particular class and leave the rest in the locker.
- Choose a backpack size that is appropriate for the child. Remember that the bigger the backpack, the more room your child will have to carry around unnecessary items.
- Make sure that the backpack never hangs more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that is too low will cause more weight on the shoulders.
- Some experts have recommended that your child’s backpack should weigh no more than 5 to 10 percent of your child’s body weight.
If your child experiences pain caused by the misuse of backpacks, consult your Garden Grove chiropractor. Chiropractors are licensed and trained to treat patients of all ages.