Many parents and students themselves are unaware of the stress they place on their backs due to their over weighted and awkward backpacks. It is extremely important,especially for young children, to be careful to not to overload their backs with too much unnecessary weight from backpacks. Backpacks which are too heavy and used daily could severely damage a young persons back beyond repair by adulthood. Below are some easy tips from about.com to help combat back pain caused from backpacks and prevent early back pain in young adults.
- limit the weight your child carries in a backpack to 10-20% of his body weight CHECK OUT about.com’s awesome backpack calculator tool here: backpack optimal weight calculator
- buy a backpack that has wide, padded shoulder straps and a waste belt
- avoid messenger bags and other single strap bags for your child
- encouraging your child to wear his backpack over both shoulders
- consider using a backpack with wheels
- consider having a second set of text books available at home so that your child doesn’t have to carry his books home regularly. Because of the expense, this usually only works if your child’s school is doing it as a general policy, which some are, although they are doing it because they want to eliminate school lockers and not because of backpack safety.
- Get your child evaluated by your Pediatrician. Although back pain is becoming more common in older adolescents, it is not as common in younger children and may be a sign of a more serious problem, such as spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, disk herniation, diskitis, a sport’s injury, or a tumor or infection. Don’t assume that your child’s back pain is caused by a heavy backpack, especially if the pain is very severe or persistent or if it lingers even after you lighten your child’s backpack load.
Although there is still much speculation about backpacks relationship with back pain, there was a recent study conducted by the University of California Riverside which determined that backpacks can in fact cause long-term pain for children who wear them.
According to the study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, the backpacks could be causing permanent back problems for the students. “This is truly alarming. Research has shown that adults with severe back problems often had pain as kids. You can suffer all your life from this kind of injury,” said lead author Dr. David Siambaes.
Nearly 3,500 middle school students, ages 11 through 15, were reviewed for the study. The research, funded by the Children’s Spine Foundation, involved weighing the students and their backpacks, questioning the students on how they used their backpacks and inquiring about any pain the children had. >>backpacks cause back pain