With the kids back in school comes the excitement of new school supplies. That includes a new backpack! But when it comes to how your child’s backpack can impact their posture, Dr. Murphy says there are several things you can do to help! Below, he explains why it’s important to begin to be aware of your child’s posture beginning in kindergarten because a heavy backpack can impact posture.
Why do backpacks impact posture?
Backpacks can change the child’s center of gravity, pulling them backwards which then causes their body to pull forwards. If the backpack weight is 15% or higher than the child’s body weight it has a high likelihood of causing postural compensation (Brackley 2009). This can come in the form of neck muscles straining, elevated shoulders or back pain.
Is there a specific age when I should begin to pay closer attention to the weight of my child’s backpack?
Most experts agree that having the backpack in a higher position with the shoulder straps fastened helps to provide a more stabile carrying load for the child. This is a better option than having the backpack hang lower towards the hips with the shoulder straps loose (Kim 2015).
How do I know if my child’s backpack is too heavy?
Kindergarten is a great age to start paying attention to your child’s backpack carrying load. They are now given chrome books, and other devices along with lunch, books, folders, and a change of clothing. That can all add up to some serious poundage on their backs. A heavy backpack can impact posture.
How can I tell if a heavy backpack has already caused damage?
Take a picture of your child standing from a front and a side view at the beginning of their school year. Then again at fall break and again at winter break. Compare the pictures and see if you notice any changes in their posture. But be aware that they will also be growing during this time period.
If the child complains of pain in the neck, shoulders or back and you think it’s from carrying a backpack, bring them to see a chiropractor. The chiropractor can then help you figure out what is causing the pain and how to fix it.
When you can reduce the weight in the child’s backpack, or use a separate bag, try to do it. This will help to reduce the impact of backpacks on your child’s posture
To schedule an appointment or if you have questions about the impact of backpacks on your child’s posture, call Stamford Spine at (203) 580-3232.
Find information here about what to expect during your first visit. Initial visits last one hour so that we have time to thoroughly assess your complaints and determine the best course of action. This initial evaluation helps us to determine the specific cause of your symptoms. From there, we will develop a unique treatment plan tailored to helping you heal as quickly as possible.
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