BOOK NOW

Backpacks – how protected is your child’s back?

happy primary school student carrying backpack with classmates aOnce upon a time, back to school meant packing a small leather satchel to carry a few paper text books.

Nowadays, the school bag will often involve textbooks, a musical instrument and a laptop – carried to and from school each day.

And they soon add up to a pretty heavy load.

At the clinic, a common cause for lower back pain in children that we see is through the kind of backpack they carry on a daily basis to school- or how they  carry the backpack itself.

What happens when carrying a backpack?

Using a backpack is a practical way to carry several items although you need to be careful not to overload.

It has been suggested that the maximum recommended weight for a child to carry in a backpack is 15% of their body weight. The body will compensate for any load applied to it for an extended period of time, but an overloaded backpack may lead to:

  • A distortion of the natural curves in the back – leading to irritation of the  joints in the spine and ribcage and strain on the muscles
  • The wearer leaning forward to change their centre of gravity in order to carry the heavy weight – leading to a reduction in balance
  • Rounding of the shoulders due to the weight exerted on them
 Carrying a backpack on one shoulder

Carrying a backpack on one shoulder – or carrying any other type of over the shoulder bag –  can lead to a change in posture as the body tries to even out the distribution of weight. The body (and spine) may lean to the opposite side, putting extra strain on the middle of the back, the ribs and the lower back may have increased pressure on one side more than the other.

This imbalance in the muscles can cause short term back pain.

Several ways to judge whether a backpack is suitable for that daily commute to school:
  •  Shoulder straps – straps should be wide and padded – this prevents any digging into and discomfort in the shoulder muscles, and better weight distribution. They should also be easily adjustable so that the bag can be fitted optimally at each wear
  • Contoured back – this can help the backpack sit better over the curves of the spine and can also allow airflow, helping keep the back cool
  • Waist strap – this can help distribute some of the weight of the backpack more evenly from the shoulders and back to the pelvis
  • Lightweight material – the lighter the backpack empty the less chance of overload
  • Internal compartments and straps – this helps an even distribution of load and preventing items from shifting around in transit.
Top tips when packing your child’s backpack:
  • Pack heavier items first so that they are lowest and closest to the body
  • Evenly distribute the load by filling compartments
  • Make sure sharp and bulky items don’t poke into the back
  • Adjust the shoulder straps so that the backpack is snug to the body and carried high – don’t carry the backpack low and loose

Note: If you need to lean forward when carrying the backpack it is probably too heavy.

Are you concerned about your child’s posture or any niggling back pain?

Often, many regular causes of child back pain can be avoided with the right advice and / or exercises.  Chiropractic care or physiotherapy may also help you.

If you are unsure about your child’s posture or any niggling pains, please call the clinic and reception can arrange for you to speak with one of our practitioners.

Please call 020 8943 2424.

Related Posts

Meet the Massage Therapist – Joanne Grinbergs

What led you into wanting to become a massage therapist? I worked for a long time at The Body Shop: for a few years I was the Community Projects Coordinator and Company Trainer.  I set up various projects in and around London for the staff to volunteer at. One of them...

read more

Covid Lockdown Update – we remain open

UPDATE 4th January 2021 We are open The Waldegrave Clinic are classified as medical services.  We therefore remain open (except for massage and Pilates) and look forward to welcoming you at the clinic as usual despite the new lockdown restrictions. Keeping our...

read more

Meet the Chiropractor – Mollie Tolino

What led you to become a chiropractor? I was inspired by a chiropractor from an early age and as a Junior Rower with back problems, I’ve experienced the difference chiropractic makes to daily life and functional potential. I’m passionate about making a difference. I...

read more

How To Book

If you’re ready to book just click below to book online easily, or if you have any questions prior to booking we can be reached on 020 8943 2424 from 8am – 7:30pm Weekdays & 8am – 1:30pm on Saturdays.

Quality Assured.

The Waldegrave Clinic has been awarded the coveted Patient Partnership Quality Mark AND Clinical Management Quality Mark in recognition of our superb clinical standards.

Our practice is one of the few clinics nationally that has been awarded both the Patient Partnership Quality Mark and a research status award in recognition of our superb clinical standards. Our high level of expertise is matched with an excellent range of facilities including Shockwave therapy, rehabilitation gym and private changing rooms.

ppqm-2018-2020-4800px
cmqm-2018-2020-4800px