submitted by Dr. Stephen M. Sell, www.SellChiro.com
Many children use backpacks to carry their books and other materials to and from school. However, many times these backpacks cause undue stress on the spinal column, which can lead to serious problems later.
In a recent study, 10 children wore backpacks loaded to 0%, 10%, 20% or 30% of their body weight for 30 seconds to determine the amount of pressure under the backpack’s shoulder straps. The study found that pressure beneath the shoulder straps was “significantly increased” when the backpack was loaded at 10% of the child’s body weight or higher.
This study, and other studies such as this, has proven that heavy and/or uneven backpack loads could alter the curvature of a child’s spine and cause subluxations. Subluxations are misalignments in spinal vertebrae that impinge the nerves exiting the spinal cord.
These nerves are responsible for every bodily function in ourselves and in our children.
Here are four recommendations to help reduce spinal stress for children who wear backpacks:
- Backpacks should be positioned high on the back to discourage a “rounded-shoulders and forward head” posture.
- Backpack straps should be worn over both shoulders to make the load even and reduce stress on the spine.
- Weight in the backpacks should be minimized; no more than 10-15% of the student’s body weight.
- Backpacks should have wide shoulder straps to disperse the force of the load and decrease the risk of shoulder injury and pain.
Many children can have spinal problems yet not show any outward signs or symptoms of a problem.
That is why it is also important for children to have regular chiropractic checkups to ensure proper spinal alignment and nervous system function. It is fast, easy, healthy, and fun for them all at the same time.