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Backpacks and Back Pain

By Debra Rodzinak

The backpack has been a staple of student life for years.  Beginning with children as young as kindergarten all the way up to the college student at Sacramento State, the backpack is the workhorse of the erudite.  However, these necessary accessories are causing back and neck pain.

Backpack Weight

According to an Italian study, 60 percent of children who carried a backpack to school experienced back pain due to excessive weight.  The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) suggests that a child’s backpack weigh no more than 10 percent of the child’s weight.  For example, a child who weighs 70 pounds should not carry a backpack heavier than 7 pounds.

The ACA also reported that many children and teens sling their backpack over one shoulder, which distributes the weight disproportionately.  The longer a child wears a backpack that is carried incorrectly or is too heavy, the longer it will take for a spinal deformity to correct itself.

Possible Solutions

First, ensure that the backpack is ergonomically correct and does not weigh more than 10 percent of the child’s overall bodyweight.  Since many schools in urban areas have removed lockers from the halls, students are forced to carry all of their books daily.  Parents can get involved in the legislative process that would require schools with no locker systems to reduce the overall weight of books that students are required to carry.   

Next, check the way your child’s backpack hangs on their back.  If it hangs too low, this puts increased weight on the shoulders and will cause the child to lean forward.  Most backpacks have adjustable straps that allow for an individualized fit.

The straps of the backpack should be wide and worn on both shoulders.  Carrying the backpack around on one shoulder can lead to muscle spasms in the neck and lower back.

If your child has experienced back or neck pain due to their backpack, visit a doctor of chiropractic for a gentle spinal adjustment.  At The Joint, our expert doctors can help your child find relief and correct spinal alignment without drugs or surgery.

With over 350 locations nationwide, it is easy to find a convenient location.  The Joint understands that your time is valuable and has extended hours during the weekday and weekend.  With no pesky insurance forms to fill out or appointment times to remember, helping your child find relief from a backpack that is too heavy is stress-free.  Drop by The Joint today and get your child started on a path to wellness.


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