Backpack Use Leads to Back Pain says Dr. Robinson
Young children are suffering from back pain by the use of overweight backpacks.
What can you do?
- Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps. If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child's teacher. Ask if your child can leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.
- The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulder, causing your child to lean forward when walking. 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.
- 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.
- Recommend to your child to wear both shoulder straps (double strapping). Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of the weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low back pain.
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