It’s back to school time! Which makes us chiropractors think of overstuffed backpacks being lugged around by innocent children that undoubtedly wishing their textbooks were weightless apps on their iPads. However, while schools are working on going high-tech, here are some general tips for you to keep in mind when choosing and helping your child pack their backpack!
- Make sure it’s comfortable: Go for lightweight vinyl or canvas. Pick a pack that has two wide, adjustable and padded shoulder straps, along with a hip or waist strap, a padded back and plenty of pockets.
- Get the right size: The top of the backpack should not be higher than the top of the shoulder, and the bottom should not go past the top of the pelvis bones (the bony spots you feel on the side of your low back).
- Pack it properly: Make sure the backpack contains only what is needed for the day or the activity. Distribute the weight of the contents evenly. The total weight of the filled pack should be no more than 10 to 15 per cent of the wearer’s body weight.
- Wear it right: Both shoulder straps should always be used, and adjusted so that the pack fits snugly to the body without dangling to the side. Never sling a backpack over one shoulder. You should be able to slide a hand between the backpack and the carrier’s back.
It’s a fact! More than 50 per cent of young people experience at least one episode of low back pain by their teenage years. Research indicates one cause is improper use of backpacks.
Chiropractic can help! Chiropractors can help prevent backpack problems by teaching you how to choose, pack and carry your backpack. Should you suffer back, neck or shoulder strain, a chiropractor can also provide treatment for your pain and help you make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Still hungry for more knowledge? Check out this great document put together by the BC Chiropractic Association: Pack it light. Wear it Right.