By Anthony Galante
Did you know that backpack misuse can lead to back issues in children?
According to an article released by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), back pain is becoming a much bigger problem in the U.S. Back pain has been an issue with adults for many years, but more recently, doctors are finding that children are now starting to suffer from back pain as well.
Doctors have reported complaints from young children about back, neck, and shoulder pain. Nearly all of these children carry back packs to school. Chiropractic care can help if your child is experiencing these types of pain.
Algonquin chiropractor, Anthony Galante, is a licensed Chiropractic Physician and a licensed Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician. He is also a member of the ACA and has experience dealing with issues such as this.
The ACA lists a number of things that can be done to help prevent the unnecessary pain that can be caused from the use of a backpack.
• Make sure the backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
• The backpack 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.
• Wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight 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 the 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.