September—the real most wonderful time of the year, right? Parents, you know what we’re talking about. Class is almost in session and it’s time for your beautiful babies to get up out of your house. But first, you’ve got to get all those school supplies in order, starting with the backpack. The kids may already have the coolest styles and colors and patterns in mind, but there’s only one thing you’ve got to keep your eye on—health!
Is That Backpack Hurting Your Child’s Health?
Backpacks worn improperly can be very damaging to your kid’s spinal health. In fact, it’s estimated that 79 million kids are suffering from backpack damage each year. Hauling around a heavy backpack everyday (especially over only one shoulder!) can contribute to serious postural imbalances, triggering subluxations, which are misalignments in the vertebrae of the spine. These misaligned vertebrae put pressure on the nervous system by irritating nearby nerves and blocking lines of communication within the body. This can lead to a whole different mess of symptoms, especially when left unaddressed.
Preventing Backpack Injury
So, how can you set your child up for success? Here’s a helpful list of ways you can help your child avoid backpack injury and strain!
Choose the right pack! If it’s too big, it’s no good. Always go for a sturdy backpack with two straps, and make sure it doesn’t hang more than four inches below the waistline. If your school is cool with it, it’s best to choose a backpack on wheels.
Pack smart! Your kid’s backpack shouldn’t be more than 15% of his or her body weight. If the pack forces the wearer to bend forward, that’s a sign of overloading. Pack only the necessities, and place the heavier items closer to the back.
Lift like a champ! Just grabbing the backpack and throwing it over your shoulder isn’t going to work. That’s just asking for some strain and pain. Here’s how to do it right:
- Face the backpack before you lift it
- Bend at the knees
- Using both hands, check the weight of the pack
- Lift with your legs, not your back
- Carefully put one shoulder strap on at a time, never sling the pack onto one shoulder
Wear it right! First rule: snug but not too tight. Both shoulder straps (as well as the waist strap if the backpack has one) should be used at all times—none of this “cool” slung-over-one-shoulder business. Encourage your kid to make frequent trips to their locker between classes to replace books.
Get adjusted! Proper backpack selection and wear aren’t the golden ticket to your child’s spinal health. Backpack injury or not, regular chiropractic adjustments are a gentle, natural way of reducing subluxations and pressure, restoring normal bodily communication. It’s the best way you could help your child maintain optimal health and wellness.