It's back to school time, which means it's once again backpack time for many kids returning to school and college. Incorrect use of a proper backpack can be just as damaging as using the wrong backpack. Repetitive heavy loading, along with poor ergonomics can lead to dysfunction in your child's body and spine. This dysfunction can lead to back pain, headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain and even things like digestive problems and overall exhaustion.
Backpacks = Spinal Stress
- Neck pain/pain between their shoulder blades
- Red marks on their shoulders
- Shoulders rolled forward
- Bending forward at the waist to support the weight of their bag
- Numbness in their arms or hands
- The heaviest items should be closest to the child's back, and lighter items can go in the front of the backpack.
- The weight of the bag with its contents should not exceed 10-15% of the child's body weight (10% for elementary/middle school aged children & 15% for high school/college students).
- Students should avoid twisting or over-rotating when putting their backpack on. (Pack could be placed on their back from table height.)
- Adjust the straps so the bottom of the backpack lines up with the curve of his or her low back.
- Check and clean out backpack regularly (at least 1x/week) to prevent unnecessary items adding weight to bag.
- Carry only those items that are required for the day. Students (or parents) may be able to request additional copies of textbooks that can be kept at home instead of hauling heavy books back and forth from school.