Children are often found to carry heavy and huge backpacks when they go to school. With these, they are exposed to excessive load on their back. The bags may include heavy books and other school materials that place a great load on the spine. There are other bags that have been out in the market that reduces the risk of heavy loading by children, but backpacks have been the most popular bags for this age group. Due to this, there are a lot of effects of using a heavy backpack in children.
According to research, children carrying heavy loads in their backpacks are more prone to sustaining back and spinal injuries as well as poor posture. Although there is no specific weight published to cause injuries at the back, carrying more than 10 percent of the child’s weight may cause harsh effects in children.
Statistics show that up to 6,000 of children visit the emergency rooms in hospitals due to injuries sustained in carrying a backpack. Up to 25% of these children carried more than 20% of their body weight on their backs. Adults have the tendency to adjust their gait when lifting heavy objects on their backs. However, children often do not do this; but instead, they tend to move their head forward and drop their shoulders, thus creating an uneven posture. Assuming this posture everyday may lead to immediate harsh effects on posture, that when becomes persistent, may lead to more serious spinal problems.
Studies have shown that children should carry weight on their backs at most 9 lbs. only. However, more children are observed to carry up to 30 lbs. of weight on their backs due to school materials or simple junks in their bags. Children have small body frames, and this becomes more prone to injuries than in adults.
The most common effect of heavy backpacks in children is imbalanced gait. Because they tend to move their body forward to compensate with the weight on their backs, they are more prone to accidents such as accidental slips or bumps. They also assume a kyphotic posture, which increases the forward curvature of the spine, leading to tears in the ligaments and tendons in the area. Those who carry heavy loads on their back tend to have a kyphotic posture when they grow up because of persistent dropping of the shoulders. Children often complain about back pains after school, which is associated with carrying heavy loads. The muscles become overly stretched and tensed in order to bear the additional weight on the spine.
Children who suffer from spinal problems due to heavy loads on the back my require physical therapy to return the normal functioning of the spine as well as the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Chiropractic care may also be employed to remove the vertebral subluxations that cause back pain and other symptoms in children carrying heavy backpacks.
Proper positioning of backpacks is also essential in preventing back injuries. The backpacks should be placed high on the back; the straps should be wide and over the shoulders in the center in order to prevent further injury to the spine.
Dr. Mohr can assess your child to potentially find problems early on, to help pinpoint and correct them before they get older and more serious. So come visit the top rated Tampa chiropractor if you’re in or near Wesley Chapel, New Tampa, Tampa Palms or the surrounding areas.