Summer is ending and we are back to school! Kids are putting down their bikes and picking up their heavy backpack, sadly replacing their kites and frisbees with heavy books and files! Children all over the world are using backpacks to carry everything that they need to school everyday, and many of these packs are up to twice the size they were 10 years ago. An increasing number of children are also complaining of low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and muscle soreness, all of which have been attributed to backpacks that are either too heavy or carried incorrectly. An incorrectly fitted, or overloaded, backpack will cause damage to a child’s posture.
The heavier a backpack, and the longer it is carried for, then the more the spine is loaded. Our centre of gravity moves forward, which results in poor posture and the greater likelihood of injury. If worn on one shoulder the spine is shifted sideways and laterally.
Short-term consequences VS long-term consequences.
Unlike us older adults, children are “made of rubber and Kevlar”. This elasticity means that children adapt to nearly any load and any strain. Children do not feel the consequences of poor posture, for now! Indeed, poor posture isn’t something that happens in one day, it’s built over time. Although it may seem insignificant at first, the spine your child is building right now is the one they will spent the rest of their life with. What is perhaps more worrying, its that research has shown that some children continue to suffer with their back pain into adulthood.
Some of the main areas where heavy backpacks can create problems are:
Neck and Upper Back Pain: A forward head posture causes extension of the neck, creating neck pain and shoulder pain.
Low Back Strain: A heavy backpack can cause a change in posture by leaning the body forward to compensate for the weight of the bag, resulting in lower back pain, mid back pain and muscular tightness.
Hip Strain: The hips can become sore if the body is flexed forward at the hips due to the overload.
Knee Strain: Knee pain is clearly possible because of the obvious changes in walking gait, and body posture, due to an overweight backpack.
– Backpacks should be ideally no heavier than 10-15% of a student’s weight when packed
– Make sure the backpack is sturdy and appropriately sized – no wider than the student’s chest
– Put comfort and fit at the top of the priority list, rather than good looks
– Choose a backpack with broad, padded shoulder straps
– Use both shoulder straps – never sling the pack over one shoulder
– Don’t wear the backpack any lower than the hollow of the lower back
– Don’t overload the backpack – use school lockers and plan homework well in advance
– Place all heavy items at the base of the pack, close to the spine, for a
better distribution of the weight
Here, at Reflex Spinal Health, we are a passionate team of chiropractors and osteopaths in Reading, Berkshire. We know that school can be a challenging time for children, so ensuring they are as comfortable as possible is important to their physical and mental development. In addition of following these few advice, bring your children for a free spinal check with one of your fantastic Reading Osteopaths and Chiropractors. Let’s do everything possible today for the sake of tomorrow!
Call Reflex Spinal Health at 0118946 2100 today!
17 Church Road, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire RG4 7AA
Reflex Spinal Health are a passionate, dynamic spinal health team. We are committed to help as many in our community of Reading, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to enjoy the vitality of great health, to reach their health goals and feel truly alive! Our chiropractors and osteopaths offer the highest standards of care in a superb environment.