Back-to-school health: Avoiding backpack induced back pain

Monday, February 20, 2017

Have your ever given a thought that your child's backpack could be aggravating their health or more specifically, inducing a back pain? Well, if your child's backpack weighs more than 15 percent of their body weight, it could be hurting their back, badly. And it's not just the weight of the backpack that's an issue, many kids don't even know how to wear their backpack properly to minimize the strain on the back. For starters, backpacks need to be worn on both shoulders, thus to equally spread the weight. Your child's backpack should sit at waist-level, and it should shall fall just two inches below their shoulder blades.

In today's post, we are going to answer a few FAQs that a few parents have been asking us. So let's get started!

1. Could heavy backpacks be a reason for my child's back problem?
It's a bit controversial, as there are no scientific evidences available, correlating heavy backpacks with back problems. During kids' adolescence, they undergo some major physical changes. Their bones and posture could be vulnerable to a whole bunch of factors, especially if your child participates in sports. However, if you still want to ensure that it's not the backpack of your child that's causing the backache, make sure to go through the guidelines for properly wearing backpacks as set by the the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Physical Therapy Association.

2. What other problems could be associated with wearing heavy backpack?
Many kids end up with leaning too forward to balance off the hefty weight loaded on their shoulders. This could then lead to a more rounded back. What makes it worse is their habit of tilting their head up so they could see properly. This posture could cause a strain in the neck and back muscles and cold even cause a nerve damage in the neck (if your child's backpack is seriously too heavy).

3. How can I know if my child is having a backache?
This biggest clue is obviously your child complaining about backaches. However, if they just started experiencing the pain lately, they might not come to you unless it gets too bad. Look for the symptoms. It could be a poor posture once your child has their backpack on, or if they are leaning too forward, backward or even to the side, it certainly means that your child's backpack is too heavy. You could also check if there are any excessive pressure points on your child's shoulders.

4. What can I do to save my child from backpack-induced pain?
Make sure that your child is having the right kind of backpack. Padded shoulder straps is a must-have, as it helps with the even distribution of weight over the shoulders. A bag with a waist belt could just mean some distribution of weight to the hips too. Then it's also essential that the bag is adjusted in a way that it rests at the middle of the back. If the shoulder straps are too tight, it would be difficult to take off the bag; if they are too loose, it would just mean a tension on the back.

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