Back pain is traditionally thought of as something that impacts primarily elderly people. However, more and more children and adolescents are being visiting medical professionals now seeking treatment for back pain.
The culprit behind this large increase in child and adolescent cases is likely the backpack your child uses at school. Backpacks are increasing the likelihood of back pain by as much as 50% and back pathology by 42%.
As your child progresses in age, the number of books, the size of the books, and the volume of school supplies is likely to increase. This increased carry weight, as well as the participation in certain high-impact sports, can greatly increase the risk of severe injury and chronic back pain. Also, many children frequently carry their backpacks using only one shoulder which can further increase the risk of injury.
This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child’s backpack should never exceed 10-20% of their body weight. Below are some great tips for helping to lessen your child’s backpack load as well as reduce the risk of injury.
Rolling backpacks are a great way to reduce the amount of stress your child’s back is subjected to from carrying excessive weight around between classes. They come in a wide variety of different shapes and styles. Try to choose one with freely rotating wheels. This will make it much easier for your child to transport it efficiently between classes.
Ask your school if the use of E-book readers is permitted. If so, using a tablet in place of heavy books is an excellent way to reduce the total carry weight of your child’s backpack. In many cases, the reduction in textbooks alone is enough to get your child’s backpack to an acceptable weight.
Instruct Your Child In How To Wear Their Backpack
One big culprit behind backpack caused pain is inappropriately worn backpacks. To evenly distribute the weight, both straps of the backpack should always be worn. If the backpack comes with a waist strap, always use this as well since it helps to further evenly distribute the weight reducing the risk of injury.
Make Sure The Backpack Fits Your Child
Backpacks come in a variety of different sizes. As your child continues to grow, it is important that you find a backpack that fits them appropriately. The backpack should always rest in the curve of your child’s lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below their waistline. Once you have an appropriate size, adjust the straps to ensure the backpack fits snugly to your child’s back and doesn’t hang.
By following these tips, you can help reduce the likelihood your child receives a back injury or suffers from back pain. However, for children that already suffer from back pain due to backpack strain or other causes, treatment is often necessary to provide lasting relief. Call us today for a consultation to decide the best treatment plan for your child’s needs.