Backpack Back Check!
Make Sure Your Child has the Right Backpack
As chiropractors, some of the most common symptoms we see in our office are neck and back pain. No big surprises here, right? The interesting thing about back pain is that our patients seem to be getting younger and younger, and we are seeing many children with back and neck issues. The most obvious reasons for this is bigger, heavier backpacks as more children are bringing more homework and large heavy texts home as well as the increased use of technology, such as iPads, iPods, MP3 players, laptops, computers, etc.
The spine is extremely important because it houses and protects the nervous system. In children, many changes occur in growth development of the musculoskeletal system, including the spine, and it is crucial that children wear their backpacks properly to avoid irreversible damage to their spine.
Follow these guidelines when fitting your child and loading their backpack:
- Your child’s backpack should never weigh more than 15% of their body weight.*
Therefore, if your young child weighs 100 pounds, their backpack should not weigh more than 15 pounds. Anything greater than this can cause your child to shift their posture to compensate for the extra weight, or interfere with their balance climbing stairs.
*According to an article written by Dr Marvin Arnsdorff in the I.C.P.A. Newsletter, based on research presented at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and separate research done in Milan, Italy.
- A backpack should always be worn on the back using both shoulder straps. The bottom of the pack should sit at your child’s belt line.
- Make sure your child packs the heaviest objects such as textbooks as close to her body or back as possible and the lighter objects towards the outside of the pack. This will keep the load closer to their core and their center of gravity where they’re stronger.
- Consider buying your child a backpack that has a chest strap and/or a waist strap. When used properly, these straps can help distribute the weight of the backpack off the shoulders and lower back. Also, wide, padded shoulder straps make the pack more comfortable and less apt to dig into your child’s shoulders.
- Choose a size back pack that fits your child. If the pack is too large, they are going to be more likely to carry a heavier load adding extra strain to their spine.
- Finally, don’t be too shy to ask your child’s teachers what they can do to help lighten your child’s backpack load.
Another important thing to keep in mind for your child’s spinal health and safety is to make sure electronic devices are being used properly. We see more and more children slumped in a chair with their head and necks in forward flexed positions, using iPods, iPads, game systems, electronic reading devices and laptops and computers. As a result, problems such as headaches and neck pain, sleeping difficulties, immune system issues and focus and attention problems often occur. This is because the nerves in the cervical spine (or neck) go back up to your head and help your brain to function properly.
Please encourage your child to use great posture all the time, even during the use of these items. Strongly remind them when they start to slouch that it’s important for their growing body that they sit up straight. Allow for limited amounts of time on hand-held electronic devices. (Please see our article on proper posture.)
Back-to-School Back Check Up
New clothes – check.
Backpack – check.
Pencils, pens, paper, pads – check.
We are rapidly approaching the end of summer and the start of a new school year. As you prepare for back-to-school, Kempsville Chiropractic would like to encourage you to set an appointment with us for each of your children.
After a summer of fun activities and the accompanying growth spurt, it is very wise to make sure the spine is properly aligned and that their central nervous system is functioning properly. The benefits can give your child the competitive edge in school. Here are just a few of these benefits.
- A stronger immune system
A strong immune system means your child well stay healthier, get sick less, and miss fewer days of school.
- Improved athletic performance
A properly adjusted spine will allow the central nervous system to function better, and increase muscle control and coordination. Some sports are also physically hard on the body and can cause subluxations (misalignments) of the spine, which can lead to future injuries unless properly cared for.
- Better concentration, memory, and motivation
Adjustments to the cervical vertebrae (neck area of the spine) will increase the nerve supply to the limbic system of the brain that controls long-term memory, motivation, behavior, and manages stress.
Now, we can’t promise that chiropractic care will make your children get straight A’s, but it will help you child go back to school with more energy and focus, while staying healthier and better able to maximize their potential. For many parents, healthier children also means not having to miss as much work to take care of a sick child and the extra doctor bills that come with it.
Chiropractic care will help allow your children to maximize their potential, both physically and mentally.
If you want to give your child the edge in health, mental acuity, and physical performance, please contact Kempsville Chiropractic at 757.467.5258 and schedule an appointment so your child's central nervous system will be performing at its best. Let our doctors check your child’s spinal health and development with a full consultation and evaluation by one of the doctors at Kempsville Chiropractic. When children grow with a spine that’s in a great alignment, they are happier and healthier! If any of your friends, family, and their children can benefit from this information, please recommend this article to them.
© 2013-2016 Kempsville Chiropractic
These articles are the property of Kempsville Chiropractic. They may not be reused without permission. You are welcome to link to this article. Kempsville Chiropractic has been proudly serving Virginia Beach, Virginia; Chesapeake, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia since 1996.
The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Lombardozzi. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. The information contained on this website is a sharing of knowledge based on the experience and research of Dr. Lombardozzi and his staff. Dr. Lombardozzi recommends that patients make their health care decisions after doing their research and consulting with a qualified health care professional.
Contact us at 757.467.5258 to set an appointment.