Is school hurting your child?

Back pain is common among adults but did you also know that children have also started to develop habits that lead to back pain.   Unlike adults who have years of use and old injuries, children are suffering injuries from lifestyle habits.   These habits include cell phone use, carrying heavy back packs and extended computer use.   These habits may see innocent enough but if they are done often enough they can lead to serious spinal problems, pain and stress.

The problems with back packs are that the warning signs are often missed and under reported.  Backpacks have several dangers including to much weight, improper carrying like using a single shoulder strap and straps that are the wrong length for your child.  Summer vacation is coming to a close and parents are already thinking about back to school shopping.   It is crucial that parents consider how a back pack can after your child’s spine and overall health.

Several studies have focused on backpack related injuries.  In 2003 there was a report in the Archives of Disease and Childhood that more than 13,000 cases of back pack related emergency room and doctors office visits every year with school aged children.  The problem is not always that the back pack is to heavy, although that is a common problem.  The amount of time the backpack is lifted, often with poor technique, that can cause strain, stress and pain.

Both the weight of the back and the way the back is picked up and carried have a massive impact on your child’s spine.  Without the right backpack at the right weight, and with the right form, children can experience chronic pain and long term damage to the spine.   Contact your Chiropractor to check your child’s spine on a regular basis, this will ensure that child’s spine continues to form and heal properly.  Also the Chiropractor can advise you if you have the correct backpack for your child.

What are the backpack safety guidelines?

A back should weigh less that 10% of your child’s body weight.  For example if your child weighs 80lbs then the backpack, fully loaded with supplies should weigh less than 8 lbs.  A backpack that is to heavy can create spinal problems.

The backpacks shoulder straps should allow the backpack to sit just above the waist and below the shoulder blades.  A backpack that is too high or too low can strain the spine and create discomfort.

The straps of the backpack should be wide and cushioned to distribute the weight on the shoulders.  Stay away from straps that are thin as they can be excessive pressure on nerves and arteries surrounding the shoulder.

Make sure you observe your child as they start the school year.  They may lift or carry their backpack improperly.  We look forward to helping you have a great fall.


Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

Serving the greater Grand Rapids area; Standale, Walker, Wyoming, and Grandville

Grand Rapids, MI 49534


[email protected]



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