Posture and Overloaded Backpacks

Yet another summer is gone and we send our kids back to school. On the school supplies list, the first item is, usually, a backpack. But is this very useful item damaging our children’s spine and posture. And we all know good posture is important for our health. The backpack itself it may be innocent but when we load it with heavy books and other things that we have to fit inside things are not so harmless.

Is It Bad To Carry Weight On Your Back?

Actually, when wearing a backpack, the weight rests on the shoulders, as is common in many countries around the world where people still have natural, healthy posture.  We know that some of these people carry hundreds of pounds on their heads or shoulders, often for decades.  They remain straight and active into their old age.

When you stand in the typical American posture, the weight no longer goes through a straight spine, and compensations and compression result. The best thing you can do  for yourself and your kids is to learn healthy alignment and practice it.  You can model this for others, and maybe we can slow the rise in back pain being observed in children.

Pain in the neck , shoulder and in the back, particularly of the lower back, is becoming more common in children and adolescents, and the lifetime prevalence of back pain is in the range 30-51%.  Scary!

Sure, it’s not great for young kids to carry heavy weights.  But an equal problem is HOW they are carrying the weight.

Children, Backpacks and Back Pain

Children, Backpacks and Back Pain
Over a third of the children in the United States have back pain they associate with wearing backpacks.

There are other things parents and children can do to minimize the risk of back pains or injuries:

  1. Go light by avoiding heavy items inside the backpack
  2. Consider a tote for carrying extra heavy books
  3. Buy two sets of books, one for school and one for home (that can be easily resold the next year)
  4. A rolling backpack can work for an one story school
  5. Consider buying an e-reader and download the books

Back to school can get expensive when you have more than one kid. Trying to stay on a budget while buying every single item from the school supply list – list that seems to become longer and longer with every year – it is a huge task. It is easy to lose track of some common things like backpacks. But we should remind ourselves that choosing now the right backpack may save our children future.

For more information or to schedule appointments give your Minnesota Chiropractic a call.