Another summer has come and is almost gone. It’s back to school time! Preparing for a new school year often includes shopping for new supplies such as pens and pencils, folders, notebooks, etc. Often, a new backpack is on the shopping list as well. Did you know that selecting a good backpack can help prevent back pain? Here are some tips and advice for Backpack Safety.
When most people think of back pain, they tend to think of an older population. However, children and teenagers can also suffer from back pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), the use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor as to why we are seeing back pain in the younger generation.
Backpacks are the most practical and functional option to transport school supplies. However, they are often weighed down by textbooks, folders, notebooks, and now even laptops and tablets. When backpacks are used correctly, they are super handy. When they are not used correctly, they increase the risk of developing neck, shoulder, and low back pain.
Picking a Good Backpack
There are few items to look for when you are school shopping for a backpack. According to several sources such as Kids Health, OrthoInfo, and the ACA, select a backpack that has the following features:
- Lightweight material
- Two wide, padded straps
- Padding on the back
- Waist strap
- Multiple compartments
Using the Backpack and Preventing Injury
- Always use two straps. Using two straps helps distribute the weight of the pack evenly across the back. Ensure the straps are tightened to avoid excess weight pulling down on the neck and shoulders. The backpack should not hang more than four inches below the waistline.
- Lighten the load. Research supports that a backpack should not weight more than 10% of the child’s body weight.
- The use of a locker, if available, is key! Only carry the items needed for classes and projects until the next locker stop.
- Avoid carrying unnecessary supplies, both school related and personal.
- Use the compartments within the backpack. Compartments are designed to carry the heavier items toward the center of the pack. Place the heavy computer and textbooks in the middle/back part of the pack. Lighter supplies can hang out toward the front.
- Pick the backpack up properly. Avoid hinging at the waist, hoisting the backpack up, and throwing it over the shoulder. Squat down, center the backpack to the body, and lift by standing up with the knees.
If the younger members of your household are experiencing back pain, considering bringing them in to our office! The team here at Miller Sports & Family Chiropractic is ready to help. We hope everyone has a wonderful, safe, and pain free school year!