Today's kids are carrying a lot more than a couple of books, pens, and pencils in their backpacks. Many children are carrying several textbooks, library books, school supplies, lunch kits, and other items. Unfortunately, the weight of the backpack can lead to health problems, including lower back pain. If you have a child whose backpack is causing him or her problems, here is what you need to know.
Why Does Carrying a Backpack Cause Back Pain?
Your child likely cannot get around the fact that he or she needs a backpack, but unless safety rules are being observed, he or she could experience back pain. The pain is usually caused by the strain of having unevenly distributed weight on your child's neck, back, and shoulders for extended periods of time.
When the weight is placed on your child's back, his or her spine's natural curve is distorted. The distortion can cause muscles in his or her back to strain. Even your child's rib cage can experience some irritation.
Your child might try leaning forward to correct the problem, but this could make it easier for him or her to trip. The uneven weight disrupts your child's balance and increases the risk of falling.
What Can You Do?
One of the first steps you can do to alleviate discomfort is to assess your child's backpack to ensure that it is properly designed to give him or her the most support possible. Ideally, it should have two wide shoulder straps and include a hip strap that can be used to help with weight distribution.
If your child's school allows it, consider buying a backpack that has wheels on it. Pulling the weight will be far better for your child's back than carrying it.
Before packing your child's backpack, remove any items that he or she does not necessarily need to carry each day. For instance, library books can be left out until it is time to return them. Once you have narrowed down the items, pack the heaviest first. Try to evenly distribute the items so the weight is not centered in one place on your child's back.
What If the Pain Persists?
If your child continues to have problems, talk to the school about the number of books and other supplies your child and others are required to carry.
You can also have your child examined by a chiropractor at a location like Hidden Valley Chiropractic. The chiropractor can treat your child without the need for painkillers and give you helpful tips on protecting his or her back in the future.
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