School is back in session. And we’re trading flip-flops, popsicles and pool noodles for heavy books, piles of paper, and heavy extracurricular equipment. More than 40 million American students use backpacks to carry their heavy workloads. Many of these same students overload their packs. Or their backpacks aren’t fitted properly, to begin with. Both situations result in a variety of injuries. These injuries include neck pain, muscle spasms, and tingling hands. Not to mention headaches and lower back pain. This pain may result in the possibility of damage to posture and development of the spine. Which is why today, I want to discuss backpack fitting and posture!
Backpack Fitting and Posture
In 2003 the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported nearly 21,000 children were seen in emergency rooms for backpack-related injuries. For parents, there are a number of important issues you need to know about in order to prevent backpack injury. When choosing a new backpack, it’s recommended you select ergonomically designed features. This is because those features enhance safety and comfort. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that a child’s backpack weigh no more than 15-20 percent of their own body weight.
Picking Your Backpack
Here are seven tips on choosing the best pack for your child:
- A padded back will minimize direct pressure on the back
- Wide padded shoulder straps which will not hinder circulation to the arms which may cause numbness and tingling
- Waist and chest belts to transfer some weight from the back and shoulders to the trunk and pelvis
- Multiple compartments to better distribute the weight in the backpack
- Reflective material to enhance visibility at night
- Pick a backpack that’s lightweight itself
- Correct Size: selection of the pack is important as packs come in different sizes for different aged children
Loading Your Backpack
When loading your backpack, follow these simple rules:
- 15 Percent Maximum Weight: if your child who weighs 100 pounds, they shouldn’t wear a loaded school backpack heavier than 15 pounds
- Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back
- Arrange books and materials securely
- Pack only necessary items that you will need for the school day
- If the backpack is too heavy, consider using a book bag on wheels
Wearing the Backpack
- Wear both straps: By wearing two shoulder straps, the weight of the backpack is better distributed, and symmetrical posture is promoted
- Tighten the straps: Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly to the child’s back while still allowing the pack to be put on and taken off easily
- Put on and remove backpacks carefully and avoid excessive twisting
- Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles
- Lift properly using your legs and both hands applying one strap and then the other
The Case for Good Posture
We know that posture is impacted by a combination of factors. It is specifically influenced by good muscle control, strength, and flexibility. Try to involve your children whenever possible in activities that promote good posture. Get your child moving through swimming, dance, karate, gymnastics, skating, etc. Becoming involved with sports activities helps develop muscular skills as well as self-confidence which is often a strong influence in posture.
All-Natural Pain Management Alternative
Holistic health care is becoming more and more popular in today’s world. There are rising concerns about drug use in America’s youth. This includes the addiction to painkillers and their use as a gateway to scarier and more harmful drugs. This is my many parents are turning toward chiropractic care to help their children manage their pain.
Pain can have many causes. Often the underlying issue resides with tension and restriction in the spine. Both of which can be taken care of through the guiding hands of a chiropractor. Together your child and his/her chiropractor can prevent and manage pain and create a wellness routine to keep pain and soreness in check.
Team Up with Zock Family Chiropractic
Chiropractic care has a number of benefits other than those mentioned above. It can help with immune health, chronic headaches, asthma, surgery prevention, and more!
More and more parents are having their children regularly checked and adjusted by chiropractors as part of a healthy lifestyle and create a solid foundation for continued growth and development. For a completely free assessment, of your infant or young child please contact us. I will treat your child with the same care that I treat my own. I hope to see you soon.