Today’s students have a lot of responsibilities and a lot of work ahead of them. As children head back into classes and parents start making sure they have everything they need, there’s something that is very easy to overlook – backpack back pain. 

A Surprisingly Common Issue

Modern classes often require a tremendous amount of books, and when you consider that each student may end up carrying as much as forty or fifty pounds of books in their backpack, it becomes clear that backpack pain is a very real threat.

In fact, roughly half of school aged kids report that their backpacks are simply too heavy. And of those, about half are developing back pain. That’s an astonishing figure – one fourth of all school children are suffering from back pain due to heavy backpacks. Making things worse is that the risk only increases as kids grow older. For older children, the odds of back pain are increased due to the simple fact that they must carry more books.

Tips That Can Help

So just what can be done to help our students overcome or avoid backpack related back pain? There are several tips. To start with, keep these tips in mind when choosing a backpack.

  • Should be made of lightweight material
  • Make sure it’s not bigger than a child’s torso
  • Wider shoulder straps can help with the load
  • Waist straps can make a difference as well
  • Select the smallest bag that can carry all that is needed
  • Larger bags aren’t always needed and may cause students to put more inside than needed
  • Check for padding in the back of the backpack to help cushion the load
  • Multiple compartments that are symmetrically placed are important

It’s important to note that more expensive backpacks are often more ergonomically designed for this issue. You may pay a little more, but the results are less pain for your child. 

Along with choosing the backpack, there are a couple of things to remember regarding how the backpack is actually worn. 

  • Should fit firmly against the back without visible gaps
  • Backpack shouldn’t hang more than 3 inches below the waist
  • Should only contain items that are needed for the day
  • Heaviest items should be placed closest to the child’s back
  • Backpack should ideally weight less than 10% of the total weight of the child
  • Never hang the bag over one shoulder – always use both straps

If your child starts to complain about headaches, back or neck pain, shoulder pain, and other similar issues, it may be a sign that you need to take a closer look at the backpack and how it’s being worn. 

Staying Healthy

Your children are precious to you, and so is their education. Making sure that the books they’re carrying to school don’t hurt them is important. Keep the tips above in mind to keep your young students’ backs healthy and free from the back pain that is becoming far too common in schools today.

To learn more about this and to maximize the health and wellbeing of your entire family, be sure to contact the Wellness Center of NY. We’re here to help.

- The Wellness Center of NY
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