School poses many more situations that challenge the youthful spine. One of the most common problems in back, neck, and shoulder strain is due to the heavy backpacks kids are forced to lug around every school day. The use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has previously reported that backpack-related injuries sent more than 7,000 people to the emergency room in one year’s time. Periodic spinal checkups can monitor the effects of backpack use on the spine and allow our chiropractor to make helpful adjustments. We can also educate you and your kids on how to take proper precautions when using backpacks.
Dr. Scott Bautch, a member of the ACA’s Council on Occupational health has noted “… a marked increase in the number of young children who are complaining about back, neck and shoulder pain…” directly related to carrying a backpack.
The ACA believes that limiting the backpack’s weight to no more than 10 percent of a child’s body weight and urging the use of ergonomically correct backpacks are possible solutions.
What Can You Do?
ACA 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. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
- The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
- A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
- Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.
- Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. 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. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child’s shoulders.
- The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
- If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.
- Although the use of rollerpacks – or backpacks on wheels – has become popular in recent years, ACA is now recommending that they be used cautiously and on a limited basis by only those students who are not physically able to carry a backpack. Some school districts have begun banning the use of rollerpacks because they clutter hallways, resulting in dangerous trips and falls.
If you or your child experiences any pain or discomfort resulting from backpack use, consider visiting me, Dr. Stone, at CHAMP Chiropractic. Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children. In addition, I can also prescribe exercises designed to help children develop strong muscles, along with instruction in good nutrition, posture and sleeping habits.
Schedule a free consultation by called 317-219-4980 or click here to book online.
Learn more about other ages and chiropractic care.
BY: Ian Stone
chiropractic, chiropractor, injury, kids chiropractic, pain, wellness
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