As the school year has just started and we all begin that early morning lunch packing, the kids up early and carrying the backpacks. I wanted to discuss a few items about some of the biomechanics of researching regarding backpacks and young children's spunes.. The National Safety Council in 2018 states that excessive weight of a backpack will lead to headaches, shoulder, neck and back pain along with causing poor posture.
The load of the backpack should not exceed over 10% of your child's body weight and anything more than that will lead to significant changes in the curvature and pressure on delicate spinal discs leading to back pain. As kids required to bring their books and laptops home they are at risk of back pain. This increased weight along with improper carrying methods like over the shoulder, poor weight distribution and carrying it too low on the shoulders will lead to imbalanced posture, a forward lean or extension of the body.
As a Chiropractor, It is essential that not only you see how the backpack is placed on your child's shoulders, but also organized in a the fashion that is weight is distributed to keep the stress and pressure of a young child's developing spine. I have seen over the last 26 years in my office and treating many families, that kids are developing more postural problems, back pain and chronic headaches not only due to lack of physical activity, poor mechanics and increased use of technology.
I do have a few suggestions and they are as follows: try not to carry a backpack with more than 10% of the child's body weight, use both straps and pack the heavier items closer to the child's spine. Equally distributing the weight is also a key component as to not tilt the spine and try to maintain a good level proper posture. I've always said " It's a lot easier to build and maintain the health of your child's spine as opposed to repair an adult." Feel free to bring your child in for Chiropractic Backpack exam so that we together can prevent pain and poor posture and build yours child's healthy future.