The number of children reporting back pain is rising. A study in the academic journal Spine reported that 6% of 10-year-olds reported feeling back pain and that number increased to 10-15% for 12-year-olds. Spine-health is critical during childhood because the spine is growing and developing. Damage to the spine during development can have catastrophic impacts on the child’s life as they continue to age.
The good news is that your Harker Heights chiropractor can help you and your children prepare for school with some helpful tips!
1. Keep it light
A good rule to remember is that a backpack should not weigh more than 10% of a child’s body weight. A 50lb child should not carry more than a 5lb. backpack. The younger the child, the more essential this rule becomes.
When backpacks are loaded up for school, be sure the child is not leaning forward to remain balanced. If a child leans to offset the weight of the backpack, it is too heavy. Over time an overweight backpack will stress the spine and may eventually lead to back problems.
2. Wear the backpack correctly
Children should wear both straps evenly over the shoulders. This keeps the backpack close to the body and evenly distributes the weight across the back and shoulders. If the backpack has a waist strap, use it to help keep the weight to the core of the body.
3. Choose a proper backpack for the use
Trends change frequently which may prompt a child to want a single strap bag to carry their books. Backpack support is as essential as shoe support when it comes to development and growth. Having double strapped bags will evenly distribute the weight, while a single strap bag will put pressure on one side of the spine which can have negative effects over time.
To ensure a proper fit, make sure the backpack has padded shoulder straps. Make sure the straps are fitted to the student’s body and not hanging too low. If the child is carrying a lot of weight, a waist strap can help eliminate strain on the shoulders.
4. Get your child’s spine checked regularly
Parents often don’t notice the impact of a heavy backpack until the damage is already done. If you are unsure about the condition of your child’s spine, call us at Express Chiropractic in Harker Heights to get your child checked out immediately. It’s a lot easier to correct back problems in a growing child than an adult.
Damage done in childhood from overloaded and improperly carried backpacks is a serious issue. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 3300 children aged 5 to 14 were treated in emergency rooms last year for pain and injuries stemming from backpacks.
An Auburn University study concluded that heavy backpacks are a serious threat to spinal development. They found that the average backpack was 17% of a child’s weight. This is the equivalent of a 150 lb. adult carrying a 26 lb. bag. They also found that 50.8% of the surveyed children reported back pain while 24.5% reported experiencing numbness and 14.7% reported shoulder pain.