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3 Ways to Prevent Backpack Pain in Your Child

Child wearing a backpack running

Almost everything a child needs at school can be found in one place—their back. From books and notepads to pens and a laptop, a child’s backpack includes all the supplies they need to succeed.

But did you know that these backpacks could be the underlying cause for spinal pain in your child? Today, Core Physical Therapy is going to review the safe and comfortable way to use these versatile bags:

  1. Go high, not low
    When the backpack sits on your child’s back, the bottom of the bag should not go past your child’s waist. There’s a tendency for some children to let the backpack slump all the way to their knees, which can cause unnecessary tension on their shoulder and lower back. This problem can be easily remedied by adjusting the backpack’s straps.
  2. Limit the weight.
    In general, your child’s backpack should not weigh more than 10-15 percent of their overall body weight. Anything past that could cause them to not only experience back pain, but to lose control and run into other students. If a lighter load just isn’t feasible, have them use a backpack with wheels on the bottom.
  3. Pay attention to the straps.
    Does your child head out the door with just one backpack strap slung over their shoulder? That can cause them to hurt. Make sure they use both straps, and that those straps are padded. Additionally, using an abdominal strap can help re-distribute the weight evenly, so that the bag doesn’t have the effect of pulling 10 or more pounds down on their shoulders.

With the proper precautions, your child should be able to go through the school year without having to subject themselves to excessive spinal pressure. Since next month is National School Backpack Awareness Day, now is the perfect time to commit to proper backpack usage.

If lower back pain is an issue for you or anyone else in your family, the experts at Core Physical Therapy are here for you. Our Spine Pain program can help you reclaim your active life.

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