Anyone who has ever experienced neck and/or back pain knows just how horribly “un-fun” it can be. Movement – no matter how slight – can be excruciating and, sometimes, prohibited entirely, leading to increased visits to the doctor, increased time off of work, and decreased quality of life.
And, the same goes for children. Especially in recent years, as backpacks have become more laden with extremely heavy books that children are having to carry to and from school on a daily basis. In fact, more and more complaints of back pain are seen each and every year from our youngsters, much of which can be attributed to the backpacks that they carry. With that in mind, we thought we’d share some of the best backpack tips around, courtesy of the Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association.
To start, make sure that your child’s backpack weights no more than 5-10% of his/her body weight. Backpacks any heavier than this will cause your child to bend forward in an effort to support the weight pressing on their back (as opposed to letting their shoulders do the work via the straps). It’s also good to note how low the backpack is hanging – backpacks that hang lower than four inches below the waistline increases shoulder stress substantially, causing your child to, again, lean forward to support the weight of the pack.
Backpacks that have individualized compartments help with positioning the contents most effectively; however, bigger isn’t always better! Remember, the more room there is in the backpack, the more tempted your child will be to jam in everything humanly possible.
Even though it may not be as cool to wear a backpack squarely on the back (and, instead, have it slung over one shoulder), the packs come with two straps for a reason. Toting around a backpack by one strap can cause a disproportionate amount of weight to shift to one side which, in turn, can cause both muscle spasms and low back pain. Straps should also be wide and padded, and should be adjustable so that they fit your child’s body – straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to ride uncomfortably low, leading to spinal misalignment and pain.
If your child does complain of back pain – regardless of any and all precautions taken – please don’t hesitate to give us a call! The providers here at Fletcher Chiropractic in Lincoln, Nebraska, are highly trained in the treatment of patients of ALL ages and would be happy to help you AND your little one(s) get rid of those aches and pains once and for all!