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Your Child’s Backpack May Lead to Back Pain

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It’s back-to-school time and good time for a reminder that overweight backpacks can lead to back pain for your child. It’s a real concern, and, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), backpacks should be limited to no more than 10% of your child’s body weight.

Other recommendations from the ACA include:

  • Backpacks should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the weight to shift to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  • Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable and can dig into your child’s shoulders.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.

Have any questions about your child’s back or neck pain? Ask Dr. Art and Dr. Jim for more information!

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