The school year is well under-way and many students are starting to feel the effects of heavy back-pack syndrome. Some backpacks are filled with books, markers and erasers; others are filled with laptops and tablets. Whatever is in yours or your child’s backpack this year could be the cause of your next chiropractor appointment. While we love our patients, we also want to help you avoid any unnecessary trips to our office this school year.
Here are some tips on how to reduce the risk of injury from every day backpack wearing…
- Always wear your backpack with both straps. A few decades ago, slinging a backpack on one shoulder became a trendy thing amongst school-goers. Unfortunately, this type of stylish statement is one of the worst things for your body. When you wear your backpack on one shoulder, all of the pressure and strain occurs on one side of your body. This can result in aches, pains and misalignment issues.
- Wear your backpack high up on your shoulders. When your straps are higher up on your shoulders, your backpack is closer to your body. This can help reduce back injury by reducing the amount of sway in your backpack while walking; less movement in your backpack means less stress for your neck, shoulders and back.
- Wear the waist strap. A waist strap can significantly reduce the amount of stress placed onto your back and shoulders, which can help reduce injury. When the waist strap is used properly, it redistributes the weight from the backpack so that it is more evenly placed throughout your body. A waist strap can be especially helpful for heavy loaded packs.
How To Choose a Backpack:
It is always important to wear a backpack before you buy it, so online shopping should be avoided. You will need to make sure that the backpack is not only comfortable, but also fits your body size. The height of your backpack should end at the waist. If you do need to shop online, make sure to measure your torso before purchasing to make sure the backpack will fit properly. And remember, with growing children it may be necessary to buy new backpacks annually in order to keep up with their growth increases.
Other good things to look for when buying backpacks are waist straps, shoulder padding, back padding, reflector lights, extra pockets, wheels for rolling and side compartments.
How to Load a Backpack:
The weight of a backpack should never exceed more than 15% of the wearer’s body weight. For example, if your child weighs 80 lbs., then the fully-loaded backpack should weigh no more than 12 lbs.
When loading the backpack, begin with heavier items, such as books, and place the smaller objects evenly throughout other pockets. Try to also distribute weight evenly throughout the side pockets. Be sure to clean out backpacks daily as well. This can help to prevent any unnecessary items from adding extra weight.
We hope you find these tips helpful and will utilize them the next time you or your child is wearing or packing a backpack!