Is Your Child's Backpack Too Heavy?
Author- Dr. Ryan Curda
Backpack health is a concern for parents and students alike. Children in particular are required to carry increasingly heavy loads of books and school work in larger and larger packs. The increased stress caused by an over-loaded pack can cause back and neck pain. Several factors contribute to the overall balance of your body, and carrying a 20lb. plus bag can throw everything out of whack. It isn't just back packs either; purses, briefcases, suit cases, and satchels can all greatly contribute to negatively affecting your health.
When wearing a back pack that is too heavy for the person wearing it several things happen to accommodate the load. You'll see the head jutted forward, you or your child is subconsciously using you their head as a “counter balance” to stay upright. This causes tightening of the muscles in the front of the neck and the base of the skull, this will typically cause headaches, numbness into the arms, and even decreased breathing ability. The shoulders will be rounded forward to support the weight of the straps. This will strengthen the muscles in the front of the shoulders and weaken the muscles in the back of the shoulders. This imbalance can lead to pain between the shoulder blades, pain into the shoulder, and even lead to an impingement syndrome. These are all issues caused by wearing a backpack that is overloaded on both shoulders. What if you only wear one strap at a time, or use a purse exclusively on one side? In that case you will see shoulder hiking and a head tilt to the opposite side. This will lead to chronic tightness of the neck and shoulder muscles on one side only creating massive imbalances that can cause headaches, neck pain, arm numbness, and shoulder blade pain.
Here are a couple simple tips to help to avoid causing lasting damage to your spine and can help prevent future injury. Always wear both straps over your shoulders whenever carrying your pack, loading one side of your body will create imbalances and compensation. Keep shoulder straps adjusted to keep the load tight to your back and even from side to side. Try to avoid overloading your pack with excessive weight, if you cannot carry your pack comfortably for 20-30 min without becoming fatigued there is probably too much weight for your size. If you are still having pain in the back, neck, or any other concerns after trying these adjustments there may be another underlying cause that should be assessed by a Chiropractor. If you have any questions or need help finding a qualified Doctor of Chiropractic in your area please call Personalized Chiropractic at 858-866-3345 to find help.
There are many options out there when deciding on yours and your family’s health care. Pacific Beach Chiropractor Dr. Ryan Curda would like to help you make an educated and informed decision. Call Personalized Chiropractic for any questions you may have regarding Chiropractic Care, your particular health concern, and the options available to you. Consultations are free, and Low Cost exams are available. (858) 866-3345.