School Back Packs and Back Pain
Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: Every year millions of children walk around with heavy school back packs filled with books and supplies. While this is a good way to carry their school materials, by using their back and shoulder muscles, the tendency is to place too much strain on their neck and back due to overloading the back pack. The back will compensate for any load applied to it for an extended period of time. A heavy weight carried in backpacks can:
- Distort the natural curves in the middle and lower backs, causing muscle strain and irritation to the spine joints and the rib cage
- Lead to rounding of the shoulders
- Cause a person to lean forward, reducing balance and making it easier to fall
This problem can be made worse by carrying the pack on just one shoulder. Doing this causes the body to adapt by causing the body to lean to the other side placing additional stress on the mid and lower back as well as their associated muscles. This can lead to the children having headaches, shoulder, neck and back pain as well as pain down the arms and legs.
There is not a consensus among doctors on the correct amount of weight that a child can carry or the perfect back pack design, but parents should use common sense in choosing the best back pack for your child.
Look for backpack design features that help reduce the chance of back pain:
- Lightweight material (canvas as opposed to leather)
- Two padded, wide (2-inches), adjustable shoulder straps on the backpack
- Padded back
- Individualized compartments
- Hip strap, waist belt, or frame to redistribute the weight of the backpack from the shoulders and back to the pelvis
- Wheels so that the backpack can be pulled rather than carried
- Consider using a separate bag for the child’s laptop or other heavier electronic items
Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!