Back to School: The Pack Mentality

By Krista Elliott

The joy (or despair) with which you read the first part of that headline above -- "Back to School" -- is pretty indicative of whether you're a parent or a student. Yes, it's that time of year when students grab their backpacks, hop on the bus, and head back to school for another year of learning. 

Whether your child is just starting school or getting ready to graduate, you want to protect them. And with a busy year ahead, you definitely don't want them to be sidelined by back pain. So, how do you keep your budding scholar's back healthy and pain-free? 

Look Back at Their Pack

Backpacks are a pretty awesome way to carry books, supplies, a drink, and that moldy egg-salad sandwich that a certain someone said he ate last week. But improper backpack use can do a real number on your spine, muscles and joints, causing subluxations and back pain.

Teenagers tend to be prone to sloppy backpack usage, often carrying their pack on one shoulder, hanging low, and stuffed to the brim with heavy textbooks. In order to compensate for this weight, the back starts to lean to the opposite side. This can lead to muscle issues, and also strains the ribs, vertebrae, pelvis, and shoulders. 

Improper backpack usage tends to not be as big a concern for little kids, as they usually use both straps and only have a few light items (acorns, crumpled paper, a dusty eraser) stuffed into their Kylo Ren backpack, anyway. 

However, big or small, it's never too early or too late to teach your child about proper backpack usage. 

Make Their Backpack Work for Them

  • Coach your child to wear their backpack over both shoulders from an early age. It'll be tough, especially with teens, but it's worth the effort of reminding them that a bad back will prevent them from enjoying their favorite sports and activities. A few quick web searches can net you tons of photos of the hottest celebs wearing their backpacks properly, helping your child see the cool factor. 
  • Teach them to take inventory often. Are they only taking home the books they need that evening, or do they just drag everything home without thinking about it? 
  • When loading their backpacks, teach them to pack the heavy items first, so that they're carried closer to the body, making it easier to balance the weight. 

A Back-to-School Adjustment

You're never too old or to young for chiropractic care, and the professionals at The Joint Chiropractic can analyze your child's spine and joints to help relieve any existing misalignments and help prevent new ones. With a new school year comes a fresh start, so what better time to give your child's spine and joints a fresh start with chiropractic care from The Joint!