The Dangers of The Dreaded Schoolbag!

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When was the last time you picked up your child’s backpack? It is astonishing just how heavy they are!

How much attention do you pay to the way your child carries their backpack? One shoulder? Hanging around their bottom? Why isn’t it cool to wear your backpack up high and held firmly against your back?
A recent study has provided some figures/percentages based on body weight versus maximum weight that one’s back should be able to handle without causing postural problems or pain. See chart at the end of the article.

Backpacks are a real problem for kids of today. It is causing current pain and long-term postural issues and chronic pain. Problems are related to the weight that is being supported by the spine and the knock on effect it has on the surrounding muscles. So what can we do about it?

• Ensure that the backpack has thick straps that are evenly spaced apart
(Thin straps can dig in to your child’s shoulders and effect nerve and blood flow)
• Avoid one shoulder bags
• Position the backpack up high over the strong mid-back muscles, keeping the weight close to your child’s centre-of-mass and ensuring maximum support. High and tightly positioned on the body.
• If you’re in the market for a new bag, get one that has a waist clip so that if your child has to have the occasional heavy bag day that they have extra support through their pelvis – note that this has it’s own problems (just shifting the problem) so is not recommended on a regular basis.
• Buy a bag that has wheels! Why carry the bag at all!
• Do they really need to be taking all of those books to school? Be organised and know in advance what you will need for certain. Lighten the load if you can!
• Organise the items so that the heaviest items are closest to the back.
• See your local chiropractor! They are experts in posture and can help you to realign your spine to better deal with the weight, minimize pain and long term effects (2).

Why does this all matter? Your child’s spine houses their spinal cord and thus directly effects nerve flow throughout their bodies. If a heavy weight is continuously held in an unfavourable manner it will activate muscles that are not usually firing. These activated muscles will pull at your vertebrae and hold them in an unnatural position, which in turn causes more stress on the body.
There is a connection between posture and personality! Your child’s backpack could be doing more damage than you think!

The Spine and Health chiropractors in Crows Nest and North Sydney, are experts in pain and posture. Take the time to examine your school-kid’s backpack and the way they carry it. And take the time to bring them in for a thorough spinal examination. If your child has a problem our chiropractors will be able to come up with an action plan to undo as much of the damage as possible and ways to ensure it doesn’t progress any further. It may effect them in ways you never dreamt! AND we have NEW Family Care Rates!

To enable your child to reach their potential please give us a call today on:

Crows Nest Ph 02 9460 8459

 North Sydney Ph 02 9955 8055

Person’s Weight (kg) Maximum Backpack Weight (Kg)
27 2
27-32 4.5
45 7
56 8
68 9
90+ 11*

*No-one should carry more than 11kg (1).

Another standard rule is never to carry a bag that is more than 10% of your body weight.