Backpack Selection and Fit Matter
When I drive by bus stops, I think how cute kids look with a huge backpack. Then the chiropractor in me takes over. From my own experience as a mom, I am always amazed on the number of things that go into the average child’s backpack every day and how heavy they can get. Backpacks are also the new briefcase for adults where more and more “stuff” goes in for the person on the move. They have so many cool compartments and features that lets us, well, carry more stuff.
When backpacks are too heavy, not fitted properly, or just a plain the wrong backpack, the effects on the neck, spine and other parts of the body can cause:
• Neck & back pain
• Muscle spasms in the neck and upper back
• Radiating pain to arms
The reason this is especially bad for children is because their bones are still developing. An overfilled or overstuffed backpack can be responsible for bones shifting out of place and putting pressure on the nerves.
What’s a Good Backpack and How It Should Fit?
Backpack selection and how it’s fitted is important to avoid these issues. The right gear and the right fit should look like:
• The right size – Kids for kids and adult for adults.
• DON’T over stuff it. It should never be more than 15% of your child’s weight! -This is hard to control because of how many books, folders, homework, tablets and computers required. Work with your child to pack only the things that are needed. Get rid of the stuff that keeps accumulating.
• Comfortable and adjustable straps – The straps should be cushioned to be more comfortable and not dig into the shoulders. The straps should be easily adjustable.
• Wear it right – The top of the backpack should come up to the base of the neck and not extend beyond the tailbone.
• Don’t forget to adjust for coats and jackets – With cold weather comes outerwear. As the coats get thicker, make adjustments. When the nice weather comes back, adjust again.
• Other things, should have functional compartments
When a good backpack is fitted right and not overstuffed, they are awesome to have. Anybody who travels or has used one on a family vacation can tell you this. If not, they can cause discomfort and long-term issues with your back, spin and overall health.
We Do Evaluations
This is a common problem, so we offer backpack consultations at Cornish Chiropractic at no cost. We can help you evaluate your child’s backpack and help you find the right fit. Just make an appointment, bring in the backpack, and don’t forget your child!