It’s back to school season, and in “Chiro world”, that also means it’s the season for children and teens with back pain. Believe it or not, over 50% of Canadian youth will suffer at least one back pain episode during their school years. These injuries impact your child’s ability to focus at school and participate in their sports activities that are a critical part of a young person’s life.

This is what the research says:Overloaded backpack

  • In students aged 11 to 15, 64% reported back pain related to a heavy backpack
  • 8 out of 10 middle school students who changed how they loaded and wore their backpacks felt less discomfort in their backs, necks, and shoulders
  • In 1 year, over 2000 backpack-related injuries were treated at hospital emergency rooms or medical practices
  • About 55% of students carry a backpack over the suggested 10% of their total body weight
  • More than 50 percent of young people experience at least one episode of lower back pain by their teenage years. Research indicates that this could be caused, to a great extent, by improper use of backpacks

Carrying a backpack every day filled with books, binders, sports gear, food and drinks can wreak havoc on your child’s spine, especially when carried with poor posture.

Here are some recommendations to Pack It Light, and Wear It Right:

 Choose the right Backpack

  • Straps should be wide and padded
  • Waist strap to take the weight off the back
  • Multiple compartments to help distribute the weight evenly

How should you wear you backpack?

  • Always wear both shoulder straps
  • Wear it less than 4 inches below the waistline
  • Make sure it weighs less than 10% of your child’s body weight
  • Pack heaviest objects close to the body
  • Pack odd-shaped objects on the outside

 How do you know if the backpack is too heavy?

  • Hunching forward, or a change in posture, when wearing the backpack
  • Difficulty putting it or taking it off
  • Any discomfort, or numbness and tingling
  • Red marks on the skin after taking it off

As chiropractors, we know the effects of ongoing postural strain. From pain and strain, to pressure on your breathing, digestion, blood flow, and nerve function, poor posture can be harmful to your health.

We would be happy to evaluate the style fit of your child’s backpack and answer any questions you may have. Stop in and see us!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Sarah Rood