Adult back pain and spinal disorders may stem from childhood activities including carrying a heavily loaded backpack for twelve years or more of schooling. Many of the current bags children are using may be fashionable, but unless they allow for even distribution across the back, they can cause pain.
According to an international study, daily backpack carrying is a frequent cause of discomfort for school children. School backpacks were felt to be heavy by 79.1% of children, to cause fatigue by 65.7%, and to cause back pain by 46.1%*.
Some general tips for carrying backpacks:
Backpacks should be ideally no heavier than 10% of a student's weight when packed.
Make sure the backpack is sturdy and appropriately sized - no wider than the student's chest
Put comfort and fit at the top of the priority list, rather than good looks
Choose a backpack with broad, padded shoulder straps
Use both shoulder straps - never sling the pack over one shoulder
Use waist straps attached - they are there for a good reason
Don't wear the backpack any lower than the hollow of the lower back
Don't overload the backpack - use school lockers and plan homework well in advance
Place all heavy items at the base of the pack, close to the spine, for a better distribution of the weight
If you have any concerns about the effects of your child’s backpack on their spinal health, bring them in to see one of the chiropractors here at Synergy Sports and Wellness.
* Negrini, S., & Carabalona, R. (2002). Backpacks on! Schoolchildren’s Perceptions of Load, Associations with Back Pain and Factors Determining the Load. Spine , 27(2), 187-195.