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Backpack Safety for a Healthy Spine

By Donna Stark

The move from elementary school to junior high is an exciting time for millions of children across the nation, but that excitement can quickly turn to anguish if the health of their spine is not prioritized. Day in and day out, our young ones must carry heavy books from class to class and teacher to teacher. It's almost as if it were a rite of passage, but without a happy ending. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ensure your child's excitement for school continues throughout the year.

Backpack Safety

When talking about backpack safety for children, most people will only consider how heavy the bag is. But there is another factor that is key to maintaining optimal spinal health and just as important as its weight ... the way your child carries it.

  • Heavy backpacks - Excessively heavy backpacks can change and damage the natural curve of the spine, which can lead to problems with your child's growth and development. It can also lead to low back pain, injuries, and future degeneration.
  • Uneven distribution - Backpacks that are only carried over one shoulder can cause a lot of damage too. There will be an uneven distribution of weight and as a result, your child will tend to lean to the opposite side. This can cause pain, muscle spasms, and excess stress on the spine.

What to Do

Unfortunately, backpacks won't be going out of style any time soon, so it's important to take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of future health issues.

  • See a doctor - Your primary care doctor can check and monitor your child's spine and overall growth to make sure everything is OK
  • Reduce the weight - Your child may not be able to leave the books behind, but they might be able to leave other stuff at home
  • Distribute evenly - Make sure the heavier items are closer to your child's back so the weight is distributed evenly
  • Buy the right bag - When selecting a backpack for the new year, look for one that has wide padded shoulder straps
  • Carry it correctly - Encourage your child to wear the backpack over both shoulders, but if that's a hard sell, stress the importance of switching sides frequently throughout the day
  • Get adjusted - Regular adjustments at The Joint Chiropractic can encourage proper alignment in your child's body and reduce any back or neck pain they may be feeling

A Spine-Happy Year

Backpacks can be cool and they can be fun, but above all, they need to be safe! So shop wisely and take your time when selecting one. Your child's new adventure (and their spine) are counting on it!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Arvada, Colo.

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