5 Tips to Avoid ‘Backpack Back’ When Going Back to School

The health of your spine and nervous system is crucial for everyone, especially children!

It’s back to school time and items such as heavy backpacks may be causing injury and discomfort to your child’s spine and nervous system.

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Here are 5 simple strategies to help your child avoid ‘Backpack Back’ and keep their spine and nervous system functioning at it’s best.

  • The Correct Fit:

Making sure that the backpack is the right fit for your child is so important. If a backpack is too long children can be pulled backward which can actually increase the curve in their lower back, therefore creating more pressure on their spine and nervous system.

To avoid this make sure your child’s backpack is no wider than their chest and should sit no lower than the small of their back.

Look for a backpack with adjustable straps; make sure to adjust the straps to the right length for your child.

  • Comfort:

Backpacks should feel comfortable.  When purchasing a backpack look for one with wide padded straps made from a lightweight material, as narrow straps can dig into shoulders.

Find a backpack with a molded insert or frame that follows the contour/shape of your child’s spine.  This will help to support their posture while they are under load from the weight of the backpack.

Adjustable chest and waist straps can also help to distribute the weight of the backpack more evenly across your child’s body.  By doing this it takes the pressure off the back, neck and shoulders and will also help to support their posture.

  • Avoid Heavy Weights:

Your child’s backpack should weigh no more than 10-15% of their body weight; you can estimate or use a bathroom scale to check this.

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Help your child get organised and reduce weight by only packing the essentials and leaving extra items at school in lockers, desks or chair bags.

  • Even Weight Distribution

Use backpacks with multiple compartments, not only do compartments support organisation they also prevent contents from moving and help to distribute weight more evenly. Making sure that bags are fully zipped also assists with this.

Pack the heaviest items closest to the spine and tighten straps as this helps to pull the weight of the bag closer to the body creating a better centre of gravity and therefore balance.

Utilise both straps, using a single strap over one shoulder can put too much weight on one side causing you to lean more towards the opposite side to compensate for the weight in the bag.  As a result this can lead to back, neck and shoulder strain injuries.

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Adjustable chest and waist straps can also help to distribute the weight of the backpack more evenly across your child’s body, taking pressure off the back, neck and shoulders and as well as helping to support their posture

  • Time:

Lastly, reduce time spent wearing a backpack; try to spend no more than 30 minutes at a time.

Here at Global Chiropractic we are very passionate about assisting our clients in reducing and relieving stress from their nervous system as it is very common that this may be the cause behind many pains, symptoms and dysfunctions that people suffer from everyday, including backpack back.

If you think you or your child’s health and well being would benefit from having Chiropractic Care, or if you would like any more information and recommendations in regards to choosing the right backpack for your child, please call our practice on (03) 5444 3388. We would love to help you and your family to achieve better health!

Dr. Deanne Esposito (Chiropractor)

Global Chiropractic

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