Heavy Bookpacks: Trouble for Young Students

It is that time of year again.  You know, the back to school season. Students will be heading back to school with fully stuffed and heavy bookkpacks.  If it were not bad enough, with the epidemic of bad posture these days, adding an overly heavy bookpack to the mix can be unhealthy to say the least. Chiropractors are well equipped to understand and help with the problems, pains and injuries of heavy bookpacks.  The best thing is to avoid the injury in the first place. Ideally, the maximum weight in the backpack should be no more than a maximum of 10-15% of body weight. This means that  for an 80 lb. child, the pack should weigh no more than 8-12 lbs!

image of Child with back problems
Chiropractic can help!

Can chiropractic help young children and kids with back pain? Of course. Chiropractic is very save and effective. Dr. Whittington has been caring for children and families for decades.  Chiropractic can help children with headache, neck pain, back pain and even concentration deficits. Call today to make your appointment.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons stresses that back packs that are too heavy

or incorrectly worn may injure a child’s muscles and joints. A team from the University of San Diego School of Medicine tells us that the way loads are distributed under the backpack straps can isolate causes of shoulder and back pain in teens and children. Too much pressure on the shoulders from heavy backpacks may cause shoulder pain and even low back pain prompting a call to the chiropractor. Most health officials agree that the load of heavy backpacks should be reduced.

We all know most children and teens carry packs that are too heavy and it is not healthy. Backpack manufacturers are now designing backpacks that are more ergonimically correct. They are making wider straps, adding more padding and adding straps that can pull the load closer to the center of gravity. Also waist straps are a valuable addition so that some of the weight can be carried on the waist instead of just the upper back and shoulders. However, buyer beware. Just because a backpack may be designed with popular cartoon characters or have an attractive color or style, it does not mean it meets healthy standards.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a school bookpack.

Wide, padded shoulder straps
Two shoulder straps
Padded back
Waist level straps
To prevent injury:

Use both straps.
Make backpack as light as possible by leaving books in lockers or having 2 sets of books.
Backpack should rest no further than 4 inches below the waist.
Stand straight, do not lean forward when carrying.
Carry no more than 10-15% of your body weight in the pack.
Carry the heaviest books in the part of the pack closest to the body.
Keep the weight of the pack to 10% of body weight. (a 150 lb student’s pack should weigh less than 20lbs.)
How parents can help:

Encourage your child or teenager to tell you about pain or discomfort that may be caused by a heavy backpack.
Do not ignore any back pain in a child or teenager. Consult with a chiropractor if in doubt.
Talk to the school about lightening the load.
Be sure the school allows students to stop at their lockers throughout the day. Team up with other parents to encourage changes.
Consider buying a second set of textbooks for your student to keep at home.
Keeping the head back over the shoulders will prevent neck and shoulder pain and possibly headaches
Remember, chiropractors are spinal health experts and are ready to help when a problem arises with neck, back or shoulder pain. The best cure is prevention and I hope these tips will be helpful.

Asheville Chiropractor since 1994

Dr. Tom Whittington

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