School’s back! Heavy backpacks can hurt!

Now that school has gone back it’s time to check your child’s backpack to ensure they’re wearing them the right way.

Carrying heavy school bags is a risk factor for musculoskeletal problems.  Research shows that backpacks should weigh less than 10% of the student’s body weight, and that the load is carried evenly over both shoulders.

Correct use of a backpack:

  • A backpack should contour snugly to the child’s back. The bottom of the backpack should sit just above the waist, rather than hang off the shoulders and sit over the buttocks
  • Place heavy items closest to the spine to help with balancing the load
  • Use compartments to pack items securely and minimise the load moving around
  • Regularly clean out the backpack to avoid carrying unnecessary items
  • Wear the backpack over both shoulders
  • When loading or unloading a backpack onto or off shoulders, try to do it at bench height to avoid twisting the spine

Tips for selecting a backpack:

  • Appropriate size for the student
  • Helpful features such as adjustable shoulder straps, moulded frame, adjustable hip strap, padding on the rear of the backpack, and separate compartments to help packing
  • Backpacks that are endorsed by a professional organisation such as the Australian Physiotherapy Association

Signs and symptoms to watch out for are fatigue, muscle strain, back pain, and students struggling to put on or take off the backpack.  Poor posture can develop as a result and further aggravate the symptoms.  Here at Back to Health we see a large number of posture related spinal issues especially in children and young adults.  If your child is showing any signs call us on 9997 4970 or book online. We will conduct a thorough assessment, address any issues and provide treatment ensuring a swift recovery!

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