Backpack to Backache? What They Need to Know.
Watch your kids this year as they leave your car to go in to school. Keep an eye as they run for the bus. Are they leaning forward as they walk? Is there a limp? Do they complain of back pain or leg pain? It’s time for a backpack check-up.
First pick up a backpack that is nylon or canvas instead of leather. Make sure there are 2 padded shoulder pads or one cross body strap. A hip strap or frame helps to redistribute weight, and the use of all the pockets can balance weight out even more. You can get them one with wheels but we all know they won’t use it, and the extra weight is no help.
We have to teach kids how to load the backpack properly. Pack the heaviest objects first and carry it on the back instead of over either shoulder. The bottom should be positioned about 2 inches above the waist (not on the low back). They may want to put things like a laptop in a separate bag.
Many kids have poor core strength and should be taught basic exercises to improve both their back and abdominal muscles. It helps with posture, along with helping to avoid future spine problems.
Let them start out the school year on the right foot, and with a strong back.
- Rodríguez-Oviedo P, Santiago-Pérez MI, Pérez-Ríos M, Gómez-Fernández D, Fernández-Alonso A, Carreira-Núñez I, García-Pacios P, Ruano-Ravina A. Backpack weight and back pain reduction: effect of an intervention in adolescents. Pediatr Res. 2018 Jul;84(1):34-40. PubMed PMID: 29795203