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Schools are back in session and Chiropractors will unfortunately see an increase in back pain in children due to heavy backpacks.  Backpacks that are too heavy can cause a lot of problems for kids, like back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as poor posture.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers the following tips to help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse can cause:

  • Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of their body weight.  A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on their back, rather than on the shoulders.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.  A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps.  Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low back pain.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so that the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body.  Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher and see if your child can leave some of the heavy books in school or at home.

If your child experiences any pain or discomfort resulting from backpack use, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Klein, Klein Chiropractic Center, West Chester, PA, who is licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages.