School is back in session and your kids are likely wearing some sort of backpack. If these are not used or fitted properly it can lead to increased back and neck pain. With the addition of technology in the class room and poor backpack wearing practices, back and neck pain is eclipsing sickness as the number one reason kids are missing school in their adolescent years.
Heavy backpacks lead to distortion of the spine’s natural curve. The extra weight causes the spine to lean forward causing an excessive thoracic kyphosis and rounded shoulders. Along with those changes the head leans forward as well. Did you know that every inch that our head leans forward over the spine it is an additional 10 lbs of pressure going down the spine? The average head weighs around 12 lbs, so just leaning 3 inches forward makes that head seem like it weighs 42 lbs to the rest of your spine! All of these factors lead to a break in proper posture. Posture is a shadow of movement. If our kids aren’t moving well this leads to increased back and neck pain and possible issues down the road. It has also been shown that kids with better posture perform better in school. Check out these tips to help prevent back and neck pain for your children this school year.
7 Backpack tips to avoid back pain
- Personalized fit
- Make sure the backpack isn’t too big or small for your child.
- The weight of the backpack shouldn’t exceed 10% of the child’s bodyweight
- The average child’s backpack weights 18-25% of their bodyweight
- Use both shoulder straps
- Never 4 inches below the waist
- The further down the waste the backpack is, the further your child will lean forward
- Light individual compartments to help dispense the weight
- Padded back
- Ideally over the shoulder blades and upper and lower back.
- Wheels (optional)
- Pulling your backpack will avoid all of the stresses on the spine associated with wearing it on your back.