5 Tips For Preventing Spine Pain Caused By Backpacks

Some people enjoy back to school shopping, while others hate it, but for the most part it doesn’t really matter which colored pencils your kid gets or if they go with with the 24- or 48-pack of markers. However, there is one item you should pay a little more attention to this back-to-school season, because it can have an impact on your child’s spine health. We’re talking, of course, about your child’s backpack.

Backpack Buying Tips

Here’s a quick look at five tips to keep in mind to ensure your child’s backpack doesn’t jeopardize their spine health:

1. Quality – That Spongebob or Paw Patrol backpack may look cool, but if it’s made of poor quality, it may end up putting abnormal stress on your child’s spine. Just like when you’re shoe shopping, spending a little bit more for better quality is a smart move because not only will they last longer, but they are also less likely to put undue stress on your body. Invest in a quality, durable backpack for your child for this year and for years to come.

2. Double Strap – Make sure your child’s backpack has two straps and that they wear the backpack correctly, with a strap over each shoulder. Looping the backpack over one shoulder puts a lot of stress in one area of your spine instead of dispersing it more equally, and this can lead to back problems.

3. Height – You’ll also want to ensure that the backpack sits at the right height for your child. A full backpack should sit in the middle and lower part of your child’s back. If the backpack hangs down to their butt, it is too low and should be adjusted to a different height. A backpack positioned too low will torque your spine back, push your hips forward and stress your neck, which can cause huge alignment problems.

4. Avoid Wheels – You may be thinking “I’ll help protect my child’s back by getting them a backpack they can roll instead of carry.” That may sound good in theory, but it’s not the best decision. Not only do these backpacks tend to be heavier because of their design, but kids still end up hoisting the backpack up multiple times each day to get on and off the bus, to get through doors and to avoid obstacles. Lifting the backpack throughout the day can overwork spinal muscles and other important muscle groups. A standard shoulder backpack will work just fine.

5. Don’t Overload It – Just because you can fit 50 pounds of stuff in your backpack doesn’t mean you should carry that much weight everywhere you go. Talk to your child about packing the essentials and encourage them to keep things them won’t need that day in their locker or at home. If you do need to carry a heavy backpack, take it off when possible and unload it sooner rather than later, otherwise you’re only hurting your spine.

For more tips on protecting your spine this back-to-school season, reach out to Dr. Chang today!

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