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Doctor's Blog

Backpacks and Back Pain

backpack chiropractic

Making sure your child starts the school year off right


Improperly carrying backpacks is one of the leading causes of back pain in kids. This is not because backpacks are bad. Most people have just never been taught how to properly carry one or what to look for when buying one. Let’s start off by talking about the 3 main contributors as to why so many kids are dealing with aches, pains, and muscle strains it comes to backpacks.


3 ways a backpack can be causing harm to your child

1: Most kids fill their backpack with way too many books, supplies and personal items. It becomes extremely heavy which then forces them to lean forward to compensate for the weight’s force pulling them backward. Repetition of this can very easily cause problems in the neck, shoulders, and/or back. Most doctors would tell you to carry no more than 15% OF YOUR BODY WEIGHT.

2: Often, we see kids carrying their backpacks on only one shoulder, mainly because they find it easier or because they like the look of it. The problem is, this forces them to lean to one side to balance the weight. Repetition of this can cause back and shoulder strains quite easily. To go even further, repetition carrying the backpack on the SAME shoulder each time can cause structural changes such as a lowered shoulder height on one side or a curve/bend in the spine which can lead to much more significant symptoms in the future.

3: Lets talk about STRAPS. Having too tight of straps will dig into the front aspect of the shoulders which will inhibit proper circulation and nerve supply. If your child has been experiencing tingling, numbness or weakness in their arms or hands, checking their backpack’s shoulder straps is a great place to start!

3 things I should look for when buying a new backpack

1: LIGHTWEIGHT – Even though a leather backpack looks cool, try going with a lighter material. What kids put in their backpacks is all ready heavy enough. No need to make it harder on them by having a heavy backpack.

2: TWO WIDE PADDED SHOULDER STRAPS – Many people carry stress in their shoulders/traps. Having narrow straps will dig into our upper shoulders/traps much more than a wide padded strap. The wider it is, the more evenly distributed the weight of the backpack will be on the shoulders. This will help prevent knots and tension in our neck and shoulders.

3: MULTIPLE COMPARTMENTS – Not only does having multiple compartments help us stay organized but it also helps to distribute the weight evenly throughout our backpack.

REMEMBER!!! Keep it light, use both shoulders when carrying and have wide shoulder straps. Don’t forget to use those compartments strategically. A balanced weight distribution is KEY!!!



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