With Santa been and gone, it’s now the parents turn for a count down… Just 7 days left till the start of the new school year! YIPPEEE! And no first day of school would be complete without your backpack. But are you aware that a poor fitting back pack could be detrimental to your child’s spinal heath and posture? Back and neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches and injury are all possible side effects of a bag that is not properly fitted or the wrong size.
Here are some things to look for:
Size of the Back pack.
As nice as it is to use hand me downs they may actually be causing more harm than good. The pack should be no wider than the child’s chest, and should not come any higher than 3cm above the shoulders. Ideally they should be able to look up and not have the head touch the bag.
Choose a pack with 2 straps or wheels:
Two-strap backpacks will be more stable on your child’s shoulders and they will be more comfortable carrying it. Using a one-strap back will put an abnormal weight on one shoulder causing the body to tilt changing the proper posture of the spine. Trust me, all the cool kids are wearing their back packs with BOTH shoulder straps.
Adjust the Straps:
Adjusting the straps of the backpack so that the bottom of the backpack is slightly above their waist. When the backpack is below the belt line, your child will reflexively pull their head and shoulder forward to hold the backpack up. This will cause unnecessary strain on the neck and shoulders, which can cause pain, tightness and even headaches.
Remember it’s called a BACK pack.. and NOT a BUM pack. Too often we see people wearing the backpack sitting over the small of the back or bum, with the bag hanging away from the shoulders. The pack should contour to the child’s back.This is far more comfortable, and reduces load and stress on the shoulder
Ensuring the back pack is not too heavy. Assessing what you need for each day is essential, reducing the weight and hence the overall load of the child’s body. The general thought process is the bag should not weigh more than 10-15% of the child’s weight. SO if they weigh 40kgs, not having more than 5-6kgs in it. Removing unnecessary items is essential.
Osteopath, Bill Adamson, has said, and I couldn’t agree with him more.
“The most important thing parents can do once their child is home, is to encourage them to take their shoes off and play outside, without technology for 30 minutes. 30 minutes of varied movement can unwind the body from the rigid positions a child is expected to hold throughout the day.
Our children spend a large percentage of the day sitting, most without a thought or concern about posture. So what better way to unwind than by playing outside. Fresh air and natural movement patterns… there is no better treatment!
If your child is complaining about soreness in their shoulders, neck or back, it may be a good idea to have one of Equilibrium’s Osteopath’s assess your child. This way we can specifically identify if there are any other potential causes to your child’s pain.
We are also more than happy to show you how to properly fit your child’s back pack, and answer any other postural related questions you may have.
If you do have any further questions please feel free to call the office on 9500 2030 or email email@example.com and one of our Osteopath’s will return your call / questions.
Have a great 1st term, and we hope 2018 is a great year for you all.