Back-to-School Time!

By Dr. Philip Cordova

August 6, 2012

It’s back-to-school time and that means back-to-school shopping for your kids! Before you head out shopping, here are some great tips to choosing the perfect backpack to avoid future back problems.

Choosing the perfect backpack is a little more complicated than simply deciding Avengers or Batman?? As a parent, your number one concern is keeping your children happy and healthy.

As chiropractors, our concern is the same. But how can a backpack keep your child’s spine happy and healthy?

The first thing to consider is the size of the backpack. A backpack should fit about 75% of your child’s back. Think about the backpack covering from the waist to about the level of the shoulder blades.

Second, a backpack should only weigh 15% of a child’s body weight. Speak to your child about making frequent trips to their locker or only carrying necessities to class. If a backpack is forcing your child to bend forward to carry the load, then it’s probably too heavy! Here’s some quick math to determine if your child’s backpack is too heavy: a 50lb child should only carry 7.5 lbs in their backpack, while a 100lb child can carry up to 15 lbs safely.

The best backpack will have two padded shoulder straps. Messenger bags tend to place all the pressure and load on one shoulder causing pain and misaligning the spine in the process. Thinner or non-padded shoulder straps also have a tendency to cut off circulation and should be avoided. Remember to have your child keep the straps tight.

If you child is still having pain, think about these other options:

Backpacks with waist belts: waist belts help distribute the weight and take off stress from the lumbar spine.

Multi-compartment backpacks: by distributing the items, the overall backpack load will also be distributed throughout the backpack. Also, try to keep the items near the back of the backpack.

Backpacks on wheels: eliminates almost all stress from your child’s back.

Chiropractic care: not only is the perfect backpack a back-to-school necessity, but seeing your chiropractor on a regular basis can reduce your child’s pain and get them feeling great before they head back to school.

Learn more from the National Safety Council on child safety.

Dr. Philip Cordova

About the author

Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, Texas. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and decided to become a chiropractor after hurting his back as a teenager and getting help from chiropractic care. He is speaker on health & posture. Click Here To Read His Full Bio

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