Kids all around Austin will be starting back to school soon, which means the sight of kids carrying backpacks as they walk to and from school and carry it from class to class. Often, those backpacks are stuffed with books, notebooks, and other supplies that are so heavy, you can see the child straining.
Parents should be aware of what’s in their children’s packs because a heavy one could cause or be causing them back pain, which could lead to a visit to Austin Acupuncture and Chiropractic Doctor Dr. Eric Wu of Wu Chiropractic & Acupuncture.
The Effect on Your Child’s Back
A backpack is practical – you can carry a number of items on your back, which allows your arms and hands to be free. However, if the load is too heavy, your back compensates by distorting abnormally to absorb the load, causing you to lean forward while walking, and forcing your shoulders to hunch or round. None of these is good for your back, and problems can occur, such as neck, shoulder, or back strain. Headaches and arm pain can follow, as well.
If your child experiences such pain and issues for an extended period of time, it might be time to call Austin Chiropractor Dr. Eric Wu for a consultation to see if chiropractic or acupuncture treatment is a good idea.
Tips to Avoid Back Complaints from Your Child
Although there is very little chance of permanent injury to your child from carrying a heavy backpack, the following tips can help your child avoid back issues now and even later.
Backpack Features Make a Difference
If possible, choose a backpack with as many of the following design features as possible:
- A padded back
- 2 adjustable, padded shoulder straps
- Individual compartments
- Made of lightweight material, such as canvas
- A hip strap or waist belt to take weight off the shoulders and onto the pelvis
In recent years, many parents have been buying wheeled packs, instead of backpacks, that can be pulled. This certainly saves your child’s back a lot of stress.
Proper Backpack Loading and Wearing
Now that you’ve chosen the ideal bag, now it’s time to teach your child how to load and wear it properly.
- Pack heavy objects first so they are lower in the pack
- Avoid bulky or sharp objects
- Don’t carry unnecessary books or notebooks
- Always use both shoulder straps to wear the backpack
- Carrying it on one shoulder is popular and even “cool”, but it unevenly distributes the weight and puts undue strain one half of the back and shoulders
Without proper loading and wearing techniques, your child is more at risk for back issues, which chiropractic treatment might help resolve.
The Final Word from Wu Chiropractic & Acupuncture
The American Chiropractic Association also suggests that the weight in the bag be no more than 10% of your child’s weight. But, sometimes, backpacks get heavy not because they’ve been packed too much but because kids forget to clean them out, so encourage your child to clean out his or her bag at least once a week.
If your child complains of discomfort, reduce the weight in the backpack immediately. If, despite a lighter bag, he or she continues to complain, contact Wu Chiropractic & Acupuncture immediately to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wu.