Backpack advice: How to protect your child

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Can you feel the excitement in the air? If you are a parent of a school aged child, then the answer to that question is probably YES! Why, because it’s BACK TO SCHOOL for the kiddos. This means that you can get back to your schedule. I hear all too often reasons why patients are not eating as well as they know they should be or perhaps not exercising as much as they used to. It comes down to the dreaded summer vacation from school and schedule changes with the children. While I argue that should not be reason to “fall of the wagon”, as a parent of two children, I completely understand the challenges that summer vacation brings with it. However, this article is not about how to handle the stress of summer, it’s to discuss with you the stress children experience with their health returning back to school. More specifically, the spinal stresses and neck and back pain stresses that children experience in part due to BACKPACKS.

First, let’s look at what researchers and scientists have revealed with regards to children and backpack safety:

  1. The National Safety Council (2018) concludes that backpacks that are too heavy can cause back and shoulder pain and poor posture.
  2. Backpack loads carried by schoolchildren should be limited to 10% body weight due to increased forward head posture and subjective pain complaints at 15% AND 20% body weight loads (Kistner, Fiebert, & Roach, 2012).
  3. Backpack loads are responsible for a significant amount of back pain in children, which in part may be due to changes in lumbar disc height or curvatures as noted on MRI studies (Neuschwander et al., 2009).
  4. Backpacks with lower load placement on the spine result in less postural adaptions for children including less trunk and forward lean, forward head posture and spinal lordosis (Brackley, Stevenson, & Selinger, 2009).
  5. When carrying a modified double back pack (weight in front and back), the forward head angle and forward head distance decreased when compared to carrying a single backpack. These findings indicate that modified backpacks minimize postural deviation (Kim et al. 2008).

Now that you are aware of the negative side effects wearing a backpack has on your child, let’s look at some solutions to prevent injuries and pain with regards to your child.

  1. Do not carry backpacks that are more than 10% of your body weight.
  2. Always wear backpacks with both shoulder straps over the shoulders and use the optional waist strap if it is available.
  3. Pack heavier items such as textbooks closer to your spine.
  4. Avoid bending forward to compensate for the weight of the backpack.
  5. Balance the weight distribution by carrying some textbooks or supplies in front of your body while wearing a backpack.
  6. While walking, keep your head up and pull your chin back so your ears are aligned over your shoulders.

For healthy lunch ideas for your school aged child, look to see what Hannah has come up with.

At Stanly Wellness Center, we are eager and ready to help you and your families achieve your best health possible. If you are looking for help with your health or you know of someone who is suffering with poor health, call the office of Stanly Wellness Center at 980-355-7600 and schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation with Dr. Patrick Ess to see how he can help. Dr. Ess will not waste your time or money. He will let you know if he can help you, and if he can’t, who in the community can.

Our office specializes in nutrition, detoxification and neurological correction. You can also refer to our website for more information. We accept most major health insurances including BCBS, Aetna, Humana, UHC, Medicaid and Medicare.

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Patrick Ess
Dr. Patrick R. Ess grew up in Buffalo, NY. There, he attended Daemen College for his undergraduate studies in Natural Medicine. After which, he graduated in 2002 from New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, NY, with a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. Dr. Ess has treated thousands of patients and changed their lives with care. He believes in educating the patient so that they are better able to make informed decisions regarding their health.

Dr. Ess donates his time to the community by educating people of all ages on a variety of health, wellness, and safety issues. He teaches people how to avoid work injuries, stress maintenance, weight loss and promote healthy lifestyles.

Along with his 2 wonderful children - Tristen (16) and Sara (14), Dr. Ess enjoys cycling, hiking, swimming, drive-in movies, and other outdoor activities. Together they promote a healthy lifestyle with regular chiropractic care.