How to Buy a Backpack and Wear it Properly to Avoid Back and Neck Problems

How to Buy a Backpack and Wear it Properly to Avoid Back and Neck Problems
Buying a new backpack for this school year? Buying the correct pack for your child’s body and wearing it correctly can have a great impact on their spinal health.  Recent studies have found that 60 percent of school aged children experienced back pain from wearing their backpack and that the longer a child wears a backpack, the longer it takes for a curvature or deformity of the spine it causes to correct itself, if it ever does. 

When fitted correctly, a backpack should sit above the hips and stay close to the spine, distributing 20 % of the weight on the shoulders and 80% on the hips.

Follow these points to find the right backpack for each of your children!

  •  Make sure the pack has an ergonomic design with a padded back and wide padded shoulder straps to soften the impact of the backpack on their body.  Waist straps help keep the pack close to the spine.  Sternum straps are important if they are going to wear the pack for long distances.

  • The backpack should have adjustable straps, so the pack can be fitted properly to your child’s body.  Wearing loose straps can cause the pack to dangle and cause spinal injuries and pain.

  • Buy a pack with individualized compartments.  This helps in positioning the contents more effectively and distributes the weight.  Make sure that pointy or bulky objects can be packed so that they will not rest on your child’s back.

  • Bigger is not better!  No child should carry more than 10% of their body weight in their backpack.  For a 70 lb. child, that would be 7 lbs. The bigger the pack, the more likely it is to be filled with more weight.

  • A backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.  Low hanging backpacks transfer more weight to the shoulders, causing the wearer to lean forward in an unnatural position when walking.

  • Ensure all zippers are working and can be closed when wearing the backpack to distribute weight properly.

  • Make sure the backpack design allows for the heaviest objects to be loaded in the back of the pack, close to the spine.

Urge your children to always wear both shoulder straps.  This allows the weight to be distributed equally across the upper back.  Carrying a backpack with only one strap can cause weight to shift disproportionately to one side and lead to muscles spasms as well as neck and/or low back pain.

Spartan School Supplies sells two backpacks recommended by the American Chiropractic Association and designed to avoid neck/back injury and ease the stress of carrying books.  Click here to view their website.

If your child experiences neck, shoulder, or back pain or enduring muscle spasms caused by backpack use, we can help!

Pain is the body’s warning signal.   Pain medications only mask the problem.  Dr. Hunter Greenwood DC ND wants to discover the cause of your pain and recommend treatment options to resolve your problem and return you to health.  Leaving back or neck pain untreated can lead to deterioration of the spine and future health problems.

Dr. Hunter Greenwood, DC ND, a Nixa chiropractor and naturopathic physician practicing at Chiropractor Plus in Nixa, Missouri, has helped thousands of patients of all ages recover their spinal health.   He uses a variety of adjustment techniques, including many he has developed himself in his over 37 years of practice, along with natural therapies, naturopathic stretching, natural supplements and acupuncture to help his patients return to health.

Chiropractor Plus, 1361 W. Mt. Vernon St., Nixa, MO  65714

Call us at (417) 725-6655 to schedule your appointment.

These articles are the property of Dr. Hunter Greenwood DC ND.  They may not be reused without permission.  You are welcome to link your site or social media account to this article.

The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Hunter Greenwood DC ND.  The information on this site is not intended as medical advice.  Dr. Greenwood recommends that patients make their health care decisions carefully after doing their own research and consulting with a licensed health care professional.

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