Hey everyone.  School is starting up, and that means that summer is slowly coming to an end!  Fall sports are starting and everyone is returning to the grind. Did you know that one of the riskiest things for children at school is a backpack?  A backpack that is overloaded or worn improperly can cause damage to the spine and the surrounding musculature.  It is extremely important to watch for the risks of backpacks. Our website has some wonderful advice from the APTA on how to wear a backpack.  Here is a list of some of the more important considerations:

  • Wear both straps.  This distributes the weight more evenly across the back and promotes symmetrical posture
  • Make sure the backpack fits. The pack should sit evenly in the middle of the back and not sag.

Left: Improper wearing of a backpack. Right: Proper wearing of a backpack.

When looking to make a new purchase, some features that are beneficial are a padded back, a waist belt, compression straps, and reflective material.

It seems that today, many children are burdened with heavy packs.  Here is how you can tell if a backpack is too heavy:

  • Pain with use
  • Tingling or numbness down the arms
  • Red marks on the shoulders

 

One of the new “fads” is to have roller bags for school gear.  This can cut on the wear and tear to a childs back.  The drawback to this is that the pack is heavier itself and can cause injury when carrying it over unever surfaces. It is also important to not the size of the roller.  If you or your child have to lean to reach the handle, this can lead to some assymytry in the spine due to extra bending to one side (lateral flexion).

If you feel that you may want a backpack assessment or are having pain due to a backpack or a purse, call your physical therapist.

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