San Francisco Chiropractor Comments:
Heavy backpacks are a primary cause of poor posture and spine injuries in children. Heavy backpacks can cause spinal disc compression, muscle strain, and misalignment's which can lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as headaches and carpal tunnel symptoms.
For the most part, backpack trauma can be prevented with a little homework and a basic understanding of the relationship between backpacks, posture, and back pain.
I did a little research online and found an excellent article entitled Backpacks and Back Pain. Here is an excerpt:
Backpacks are supposed to alleviate pain, not create it. But when worn incorrectly, they can cause you or your child to adopt postures that may give rise to spine problems. As 90% of students wear backpacks, a little knowledge on the relationship between backpacks and back pain may be in order. Below are 10 tips on how to avoid back pain for kids (and adults) who wear backpacks.
1. Observe Your Child's Spine
Heavy packs may cause kids to change their spinal position to accommodate the load. This can result in back pain, and at worst, the possibility of temporarily compressed discs and posture problems. Studies show that backpack wearers tend to begin adapting their posture once the weight of the pack reaches about 26 lbs. At an estimated 20% of the child’s weight, a backpack load may even begin to interfere with breathing. So observe your child's spine when she’s got her pack on and adjust the load according to the other tips in this article.
2. Lessen the Load In The Backpack
Most kids carry between 10% and 22% of their body weight in their back packs. Research shows that heavy loads may cause spinal discs to compress. As the weight of the backpack increases, so may the degree of disc compression. Experts recommend a backpack’s load be no more than 10% of the child’s weight.
3. Carry Only What Is Necessary
Help your child manage the amount of heavy items she carries in her pack. Encourage her to stop at her locker and switch books out frequently. Consider purchasing a second set of textbooks to keep at home.
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My Take: A little bit of knowledge and planning can go a long way when it comes to choosing and packing your child’s backpack. However, if your child has developed symptoms such as neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, or headaches, they should be checked out by a chiropractor.
Sure, fixing the backpack situation will help a lot, but it wont do anything to correct a spinal misalignment or muscle strain. If a spinal problem is left uncorrected it could lead to more problems down the road. So don’t take any chances.
If you live or work near the San Francisco Financial District you can visit Executive Express Chiropractic for a complimentary backpack check and spinal exam for your child. Just mention this blog post. To schedule call 415-392-2225.
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