A recent study demonstrated that two out of every five children said they felt pain while wearing their backpacks. In students reporting pain, about 12% said it was “not bad,” while almost 90% said their back pain was “bad” or “very bad.” 64% of children who regularly carry backpacks complained of pain. 1
If your child complains of pain, or you notice uneven shoulders, you may want to consider a chiropractic check-up to make sure the stage is not being set for future problems.
- Get the right size. Make sure the backpack is the appropriate size for your body. To begin with, adjust the shoulder straps so they are snug. The bottom of the backpack should be at or just above (2 inches) the waistline.
- Test the load. Your filled backpack should not exceed 15% of your body weight. To determine this amount, simply multiply your body weight by .15.
- Use both straps. Carrying a backpack on one shoulder can create postural stress, imbalances and misalignments. Always use both shoulder straps and a waist strap if equipped.
- Balance the load. Look for backpacks that have symmetrical pockets. Make sure your load is balanced and evenly distributed.
- Lift with your legs. When loading up, face your backpack and lift by bending your knees, not your waist.
- Get physical. It’s important that you are getting regular physical activity to keep muscles, especially your core muscles, strong and active.
As a twig is bent, so grows the tree. –Alexander Pope