Back Pack Pain & Tension Reducing Tips

Back to school shouldn’t mean back to tension in the neck, back and shoulders related to book bags. Backpacks stuffed full of books, binders and supplies are hardly ergonomically correct. Enter middle school or high school, and gone are the days of properly wearing the backpack on both shoulders. Tweens and teens don’t always have maintaining musculo-skeletal health top of mind.

Adults wearing a heavy computer bag on one side of the body share the same risks as their younger book bags on “one shoulder” wearing counterparts. The fact is, at least 14,000 children are treated for backpack-related injuries every year according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Parents often think of bone and muscle health during sports. However, the daily, repetitive damage of heavily weighted items worn on one side of the body cause the spine to contract to compensate for the uneven distribution of weight. The spine automatically leans to the other side, increasing pressure. During critical growth development of a child improper weight distribution can also impact posture. Risks include the following:
– Tension of the neck, back, and shoulder muscles
– Scoliosis of the Spine (curvature of the Spine)
– Lower and mid-back pain
– Pelvic tilt
– Asymmetric Gait
– Sore hips
– Knee pain

Some tips for better backpack/computer bag health:

  1. Purchase back backs or computer bags with multiple compartments to more effectively distribute weight equally of items being carried.
  2. Use both straps.
  3. For younger children, consider a backpack with a waist strap to further distribute the weight.
  4. Pack heavier items closest to the back.
  5. Choose shoulder bags or backpacks with optimal shoulder and/or back padding.
  6. Check regularly with your child to make sure they are only bringing home what is necessary and not carrying around unnecessary (lingering) items.
  7. If possible, keep larger reference books or textbooks at home.
  8. Make sure your child has enough time between classes to store books not needed in their locker.

Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.

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