Backpacks Lead to Back Pain and Poor Posture in Children
Most school age children spend a significant portion of their day toting around a backpack. These backpacks, when worn improperly and loaded to capacity, can be detrimental to a child’s spinal health and increase their chances of receiving a spinal injury. click here
When wearing heavily loaded backpacks, a child tends to take on a postural imbalance, which causes them to lean forward with their shoulders, head and neck. This posture increases the possibility for lower back pain. The poor posture makes it difficult for the spinal disc to adequately absorb shock. Furthermore, the increased pressure on the upper shoulders and back can cause improper development of the back muscles and chest – or pectoral – muscles. Over time, the lengthened back muscles weaken, causing pain in the lower regions, which have now taken on part of the heavy load. Often times, a child is oblivious to the lasting damage they have caused to their back until they reach their 30s or 40s, when back problems start to cause discomfort.
If you notice your child leaning forward while walking normally, they may be suffering from early back problems brought on by improperly wearing a backpack. Other signs to look for are pressure marks on shoulders, numbness and tingling in the arms or hands, showing pain when putting on, taking of or while wearing a backpack.
With the amount of homework and extra curricular activities most children take on, a proper way to carry their books and belongings to school is a necessity. Knowing how to wear a backpack correctly can ensure your child’s spinal health. First, make sure the backpack is worn between the shoulder blades and not hanging down below the child’s waistline. Also, the backpack should not be carried over one shoulder, which unbalances the weight distribution throughout the spine.
Second, do not swing the backpack from one arm to another when putting in on. An awkward twist can result in spinal column and disc damage.
Third, try to eliminate any unnecessary weight. If you don’t need a certain book one day, there is no point in carrying it around. Or carry the first half of the day’s weight, while leaving the second half of the day’s materials in a locker. After lunch, your child can switch loads.
Fourth, remember to bend at the knees and use your legs when lifting anything heavy – especially a fully loaded backpack. And when loading a backpack, make sure you place the heaviest books closest to the back, which will help reduce gravitational drag.
Finally, many backpacks have a multitude of pockets and compartments. Using these pockets will help distribute the weight evenly across a child’s back and decrease the amount of uneven stress to the back muscles.