Recent studies have shown that up to 64% of children suffer from back pain. Studies from Johns Hopkins Children Center and many others have shown that backpacks cause back and shoulder pain and poor posture in children.
TO SCHOOL and Backpacks!
Consider the sheer volume and weight of typical middle and high school level books – YIKES!
5 Features to Look For In a Backpack
- Wide padded straps to distribute the load over the shoulders
- Padded back to help prevent slouching and provide support and comfort.
- Waist strap to transfer the load to the hips
- Sternum strap across the chest to steady the load and help prevent slouching.
Carrying your essentials throughout the school day requires a well-designed and properly worn pack. Not to mention a reasonably healthy spine!
- The average student has a “visual analog pain scale”, (1 to 10) of 4.3! With some reaching 8-9, as reported by Northeastern University in June of 2001
- 71% of doctors feel that backpacks are a clinical problem and 58% see patients with pain related to backpacks
- 52% think this is a serious problem. (American Academy of Orthopedics) and 55% of students carry an overloaded backpack
- An Auburn University study showed that 67% of children suffered muscle soreness, 51% back pain, 24% numbness and 15% shoulder pain
- 65% of adolescents’ doctors visits are due to backpack injuries as reported by National Public Radio in 1998.
So what’s a parent to do??
- The pack should not be longer that the child’s back.
- Height is measured from shoulder line to waist line (even with the belly button), plus 2 inches.
- Width is measured between the ridges of the shoulder blades.
- Keeping the weight centered between the shoulder blades promotes the use of the core and hip muscles for carrying.
Packing and Wearing.
The acceptable load is related to the child’s weight. Overloading is the chief culprit in backpack related injuries. The American Chiropractic Association, American Physical Therapy Association and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommend these limits:
A Few More Tips:
- No one should carry more than 25 pounds in a backpack.
- Pack heavier items at the bottom of the pack to transfer weight to the hips.
- Place flat items against the back.
- Use both shoulder straps. Always use both shoulder straps.
- Tighten the shoulder straps so that the backpack hangs slightly below the shoulders with no more than 4 inches below the waist line. This is a line even with the belly button, not the hips.
At Corbett Hill Wellness Center your optimum health is our goal.