With the 2017 school year about to start, we are sure all the parents out there are spending some time shopping for school supplies – new shoes, socks, lunch boxes and drink bottles. But, have you asked yourself – what is the best backpack for my childs spinal health??
More and more children and young adults are attending physiotherapy during the school year with back, neck and pelvic pain. Sometimes this pain is overlooked and left for too long – with irreversible changes already done. In recent research, a relationship was found between school bag loads, posture problems and spinal pain. It was noted that one of the major causes of back pain in young age groups is carrying excessive loads in an ill-fitted or inappropriate school bag.
Choosing an appropriate school bag can be overwhelming – there is alot to choose from. However an appropriate and properly fitted backpack is essential to ensure healthy development of your childs spine. Poorly fitted and excessively heavy backpacks over a 12 year period of schooling can lead to health and spinal problems such as headaches, neck pain, kyphosis, shoulder pain, lower back pain and overall poor posture. These can potential lead to permanent damage in later years.
Following some simple steps and having some knowledge when choosing a suitable backpack can help in preventing these changes.
Backpack tips and tricks
- Choose a backpack appropriate to your childs body size – you child should not need to “grow into their backpack”. An appropriate size is one which rests comfortably against their back.
- Two adjustable shoulder straps that allow you to position the bag correctly should be present. Two straps also evenly distribute the weight of the bag over the body.
- A moulded frame with an adjustable waist belt is recommended. This allows the weight of the pack to rest on your childs pelvis rather than the shoulders and spine.
- Padding in the bag where it touches the spine is also ideal.
How should the backpack be loaded up??
All too often I hear parents remark on how heavy their childs backpack is. This is a major cause of spinal pain along with poorly fitted backpacks. Use the tips below to help fill a backpack correctly.
- A pack should never be more then 10% of your childs weight when it is packed.
- Always place heavy items close to the spine – this will decrease the loads on the spine – if the pack has two sections – heavy books go on the spinal side and lighter things in the front side.
- Educate your child regarding the importance of packing their bag correctly
- Always use both shoulder straps and ensure they are adjusted so that it rests against the lower back – not at or below the bottom.
For more information, give us a call. Book a session and bring in your child and their backpack and we can help recommended any changes that may need to occur.