Kids are back in school and parents should be aware of the problems that heavy backpacks can cause. In some cases, kids have to carry a backpack filled with books around all day at school. Kids also have to deal with heavy backpacks as they go to and from school. This added weight can end up causing back and shoulder pain. Learn more about this pain and how you can help prevent it.
Backpack Weight and Pain
Backpacks that weigh more than 20 percent of your child’s body weight are associated with an increased risk of causing back and shoulder pain. These backpacks can place a lot of strain on muscles in the back and shoulders, resulting in soreness. Wearing a heavy backpack can also irritate spinal joints when kids have to slouch or bend their back due to the added weight. Some kids can also develop headaches, arm pain and neck pain from lugging these bags around throughout the day.
Keep in mind that it isn’t just wearing backpacks on the back that causes these problems. Kids who have their backpack hanging on one shoulder can also develop back and shoulder problems due to an uneven weight distribution. Having a backpack on one shoulder puts too much weight on one side of the spine, causing muscle problems. While pain from heavy backpacks is generally a short-term problem, it can affect kids’ ability to do sports and other activities.
Preventing Back and Shoulder Pain
Your kids might not be able to avoid bringing all of their books to school with them, but you can help ease the load they carry. Use these tips to lower your kids’ risk of developing back and shoulder problems caused by heavy backpacks:
- Choose rolling backpacks instead of ones that kids have to wear on their back. Pulling a rolling backpack along prevents kids from having to place a heavy load on their shoulders and back.
- Adjust backpacks, so that they are higher on the back, which can help prevent lower back pain. Keep in mind that shoulder straps should also fit snugly rather than hanging looser, which can put more strain on your kids’ back.
- Look for backpacks with features that help ease the weight on your kids’ shoulder and back, such as padded shoulder straps or a belt.
- Have your kids put their heaviest books in the back of the backpack close to their back instead of in the front.
- Teach kids to bend at the knees when lifting up their backpack rather than bending at the waist, which strains back muscles more.
If you have ongoing back or shoulder pain and need relief, please contact us at Capital City Neurosurgery. We can help you find an effective treatment to ease your pain so that you can participate in all of your favorite activities.