When it comes to your child’s health, you make sure that they have a healthy diet, good hygiene, a healthy heart and are physically fit, but how often do you think about how their chiropractic health? Chiropractors, pediatricians, and orthopedic surgeons all agree that backpacks can be one of the greatest detriments to your child’s chiropractic health. How can you help prepare your child to the best of their abilities for school while caring for their chiropractic health? Read below for tips on how to prevent head, neck, and back pain and injuries for your child.
Overstuffed backpacks can cause a great deal of stress in your child’s growing spine. It can cause improper alignment of the spine and strain the muscle and soft tissue. The issues don’t stop there. Improper backpack habits can also create immense back pain, increased natural spinal archs, and fatigue. More than a third of American students carry over 30 percent of their body weight, and 60 percent of students experience lower back pain. Chiropractors recommend that a maximum weight for your child’s loaded backpack should not exceed 15 percent of their body weight. For example, an 80-pound child should wear a backpack weighing no more than 12 pounds, and a 130-pound child should wear a backpack weighing no more than 19.5 pounds.
Size and design of your child’s backpack matter. Proper size and wide, well-cushioned shoulder straps with a lumbar support or padding will drastically change the distribution of weight on their body. This means your child has a better chance of avoiding headaches and neck and back pain. To look for the best backpack to suit your child, check out these articles rating backpacks by brand, age, and parent approval.
Properly wearing and using a backpack matters as much as having a quality design. Place the heaviest items closest to the back so they are placed over your child’s strongest mid-back muscles. Don’t let it hang lower than 4 inches past their waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight at the shoulders, forcing your child to lean forward to compensate for all the weight. Have your child wear both straps at all times, and make sure they are adjusted correctly. Forcing any extra weight to hang from one side can cause spine curvature and can lead to extended back pain. Have your child bend at the knees to pick up or set down their backpacks to evenly distribute weight and decrease stress on their joints.
Carry lightly whenever possible. Encourage your child to pack as minimally as possible. Make frequent trips to their lockers or desks to unload anything unnecessary for each class. Ask their teachers if they can provide two copies of textbooks—one to be used at school and one to be used at home. Make sure gym clothes go in separate gym bags, and lunch to go in separate lunch bags.
Regular chiropractic adjustments can create a world of difference for your child’s chiropractic health. It’s important to regular check for signs of backpack pain in your child: poor posture, forward stance, an uneven gait, back pain, fatigue, but there are signs you may miss. Your chiropractor can ensure that your child’s backpack suits them, and they can provide muscular education and stretching exercises for healthy muscles and spine health. Chiropractors will also be able to address any summer injuries that your child may have obtained while adventuring all summer, and will be able to determine overall spine health and provide scoliosis checkups.