Children and Backpacks
There are many influences that affect the growing and developing spine and nervous system during childhood. While we continue to struggle with a child’s dependence on technology, sometimes we forget that other day to day activities have a significant impact as well.
The beginning of the school year is an opportune time to reassess your child’s growth and development. This is where you can identify where there may be changes on the stresses and strains on the body that may be adversely affecting posture which may lead to pain, discomfort and deformation of the growing spine.
School bags continue to be a significant factor influencing postural integrity and may influence the normal development and growth of children through to adolescence.
A quick review of load, position and posture for each child on a regular basis may assist in reducing the risk of developing problems down the road.
Most research recommends the load limit to be somewhere around 10% of the child’s body weight, but do not forget that if the weight is not well distributed, it will still impact the spine.
So a few quick tips when checking your child’s back pack
- Never carry more than 10% of their body weight
- Wear both shoulder straps and adjust to keep the back pack close to the body
- Choose a back pack that has a body strap around the waist if possible. This will reduce the load on shoulders.
- Pack the heaviest items ( text books or computers) closest to the spine
- Pack only what is needed
- Teach your child how to pack and wear their back pack correctly (those habits can be crucial)
Finally watch out for the following signs that spinal problems may be developing :
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Poor posture
- Head tilt
- One shoulder higher than the other
January is a great time to schedule a posture, scoliosis and general functional review of your child as they go back to school. That way you know that you are not missing any unusual changes that may be occurring as they grow and develop.
Remember if you are concerned always talk to your chiropractor or preferred health professional for advice.
Journal of Education and Health Promotion 2017; 6: 41.Published online 2017 May 5. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp 26 15 .
Reported influences of backpack loads on postural deviation among school children: A systematic review Balamurugan Janakiraman, Hariharasudhan Ravichandran. Senit Demeke, and Solomon Fasika