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September 2018: Backpacks & Spinal Health

Q:  Dr. D, my kid’s back is sore, is their backpack too heavy?

A:  I believe that most of the time, if a child is sore due to a backpack it is because they have a weak and de-conditioned spine, not just that the pack is too heavy.

Now I’m not disregarding that heavy backpacks can put a stress on the spine and create postural strain, but I think parents need to use this situation as a warning sign that their kids need to strengthen and balance their spine so it is able to sustain these pressures.  This is a perfect opportunity to get them checked in order to determine if there is a need to increase spinal stability and if Chiropractic care would benefit them.  

According to the American Posture Institute there are a few strategies to make sure your little ones are practicing backpack safety.

  • Do not carry backpacks that are more than 10% of your body weight
  • Always wear backpacks with two straps over the shoulders
  • Pack heavier items such as textbooks closer to your spine in the back of the backpack
  • Avoid spinal twisting while pulling a trolley bag
  • Balance the weight of your body while carrying a backpack over both hips and both feet equally from right to left
  • Avoid bending forward to compensate for the weight of the backpack
  • Balance the weight load distribution by carrying a double backpack with weight in the front and the back
  • While walking with a backpack keep your head up and pull your chin back so your ears are aligned over your shoulders

If you or anyone you know has any questions about this topic please pass our information along.  It is vital that good postural health starts from a young age and doesn’t progress into future decades.  The health consequences are considerable!

Remember, Chiropractors are the experts on spinal health and posture!

Yours in health,

Dr. D

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