Many decades ago, kids only had to carry one or two books with them as they left school for the day. Now, children will often have to lug every book and binder they own from school in order to complete their nightly homework assignments.
Heavy book bags put tremendous strain on the spine and back muscles. Especially when kids are young, putting excessive stress through the spine can lead to back pain, neck pain, and growth problems.
We could argue about whether or not it is necessary for kids to have so much homework these days. However, homework loads are much more likely to increase in the future rather than decrease, despite any protests from parents, clinicians, or the students themselves.
Therefore, in this article, we will outline some recommendations to help your kids prevent back pain caused by their heavy school bags.
Only Take What Is Needed
Your child should strive to take the bare minimum number of books to and from school. Even leaving one extra book in the locker can reduce the load by a few pounds.
While it may seem like leaving one book out will have little effect, the cumulative stress of just a few extra pounds can contribute significantly to back pain in children. For this reason, it’s important for parents to help their kids plan for the day and week so that they only take what is needed for the classes in question.
Wear the Bag High on the Back
On most book bags, there are straps that allow the child to tighten and loosen the shoulder straps. By keeping these straps nice and tight, the pack will sit higher on the back and closer to the center of mass.
This small modification significantly reduces the stress placed on the spine by a heavy backpack and can keep your child’s spine from developing any injuries or misalignments.
Order E-Books, If Possible
Nowadays, many textbooks are available on the computer. While it can be hard to stare at a computer screen for long periods, this is preferable for putting excessive stress on the back.
If this option isn’t offered by your school, ask them if this accommodation can be made. Perhaps you’ll even start a movement within your school system that can help many students avoid backpack-related injuries!
Pack the Bag Efficiently
When packing up the bag, you want to be sure that the heaviest books are close to the inside of the backpack (the part that is in contact with the child’s back). This will serve to decrease the torque on the spine, thereby reducing the chance of injury.
Furthermore, you’ll need to ensure that the books are stacked in such a way as to minimize side-to-side stress. By taking a few extra minutes and packing the bag so that everything sits close to the middle of the bag, you’ll avoid placing a side-bending or rotational stress on the back.
Last but not least, you should strive to use all of the pockets in the backpack when possible. This will help to distribute the weight instead of focusing it all on one specific area.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Chiropractor
Your chiropractor can help to keep your child’s spine strong and flexible. Through just a few short, targeted treatment sessions, your child will often experience much less back pain.
If you are concerned about your child developing a backpack-related injury, be sure to visit your Plano, TX chiropractor at Keystone Chiropractic as soon as you can. Our team will keep your child healthy and pain-free. Book your appointment now!