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As January draws to an end, so starts the beginning of an exciting new school year for most children and teenagers! With the growing number of textbooks, iPads, laptops, musical instruments and sporting equipment to be carried to school each day, it is no wonder that children are increasingly presenting with spinal health concerns.

While backpacks are impressively practical, they still have the potential to cause tight and sore muscles and alter a person’s posture, particularly if they are used incorrectly.

It is generally accepted that we shouldn’t carry more than 10-15% of our body weight within a pack. When it has too much weight, combined with being worn too low on the back, we start to see a backwards arching from the shoulders. To compensate for this we often see excessive forward bending from the hips to reduce the load.

Wearing backpacks on one shoulder may feel easier but creates a need for the body to lean towards the opposite side to try to keep itself straight. This creates further potential for stress on a growing child's shoulders, spine and surrounding muscles.

Here are a few tips to consider when teaching your child about caring for their spines when using a backpack.

Step 1: Choose a pack with nice thick, sturdy shoulder straps & then wear the pack over BOTH shoulders

Step 2: Shorten the straps enough that the pack sits higher on the back and shoulders – preventing the load from pulling the spine and shoulders backwards

Step 3: Take the time to pack appropriately – ensure that the heavier items are placed at the bottom to keep the pack closer in towards the body, then pack the lighter items on top. Use the various compartments to equally spread the weight throughout the pack to avoid loading more on one side of the body

Step 4: Encourage teenagers to consider which books they really need on any given day of the week and to utilise their locker for storage rather than carting books unnecessarily

Step 5: Get your child regularly adjusted to ensure good spinal and neurological health, and fantastic posture as they grow!


Pioneer Family Chiropractic

A: 3 Pioneer Road, Grovedale, VIC 3216


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