Back to School Shouldn’t Mean Back Pain

The summer months are winding down…and just like that, school is almost back in session! While you glaze over your child’s school supplies list, you’ll notice the usual–pens, paper, pencils, binder, etc. But one thing that probably isn’t on that list is a backpack. We want to take this opportunity to give a few tips on shopping for backpacks and how you may reduce the strain on the backs!

It’s not an unusual complaint from kids and teens that their backpacks are way too heavy. From multiple textbooks combined with binders, notebooks and electronics like laptops (oh, and don’t forget lunch)…that’s quite a load!  Carrying heavy backpacks and/or wearing poorly worn or designed ones may increase the risk of  back pain, poor posture, neck pain, shoulder pain or numbness and tingling. Don’t wait for your child to complain about pain–be proactive and take an assessment of their everyday backpack load.

Backpacks

Shopping for Backpacks*

  • Make sure there are wide padded, adjustable straps.
  • Opt for lighter-weighing backpacks.
  • Find one with chest and/or waist-straps which can help distribute weight more evenly.
  • For added comfort, seek out backpacks that feature padding for the back.
  • Get a backpack with multiple compartments to help with distributing weight more evenly (as well as keeping your kid more organized)!

Wearing and Handling Backpacks*

  • A no-brainer but worth stressing–make sure to lighten the load as much as possible. Leave out items that are not absolutely necessary either in a locker or at home. A backpack should not weigh more than 10% of your child’s weight.
  • Have your child wear both straps of the backpack
  • Keep the backpack fitted to your child’s back–there shouldn’t be dangling.
  • If there are options for digital textbooks, use them!
  • Pack heavier items near the bottom and center of the backpack

More tips can be found at American Chiropractic Association, KidsHealth.org and National Safety Council.

We wishing your kids a fun, safe and pain-free school year!

Sources: American Chiropractic Association, KidsHealth.org and National Safety Council.

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