Back To School Recommendations
It is back to school time for most schools and colleges in the Portland metro area which means time to load up backpacks. Backpacks are known as a convenient place to organize all your things through the craziness of school from elementary-aged to college-aged. With an increased load on your back it is important to have a proper fit and proper weight distribution to decrease your risk of potential back pain and shoulder pain.
Here at Corazon Chiropractic Clinic in Portland we are not stranger to back pain. It is important to fix the issue upfront rather than let the pain get worse while decreasing proper spinal mechanics when carrying a heavy backpack. A study showed that 1126 children aged 12-18 that those with back pain were likely to have a heavier backpack with more use throughout the day. Children without back pain were attending a school that banned backpacks or encouraged to carry/exchange books before classes (Mackenzie et al). This is not meaning to do away with backpacks overall, we just need to make sure they are fitting properly with evenly distributed weight.
Some research shows that young children wearing backpacks maybe carrying 30-40% of their body weight in their bags, (ex. 120-pound child would be carrying 36-48 pounds.) Fortunately, a group of fellow chiropractors cratered Backpack Safety America which promotes safe use for school-age children. They broke proper backpack fitting into 4 steps;
Tips For Proper Backpack Fitting For Children in Portland
- Choose it right- the size shoulder be proportionate to the size of the child; the pack shouldn't extend over the shoulders. Padding for the shoulder is also important to prevent potential chronic shoulder sprains. Waist straps are also important to increase stabilization to ease the shoulders and upper back.
- Pack it right- No more than 15% of the child's body weight should be loaded into a backpack. If a child is leaning forward to stay comfortable and move properly the weight is too much.
- Lift it right- Making sure there is proper lifting mechanism will help as the child's spine grows. Backpacksafe.com gives a great visual for this ongoing load; lets put the weight of that backpack at just 12 pounds. With 180 days of school per year, that's 21,600 pounds the child lifts each year. That's nearly 11 tons, roughly equivalent to the weight of six midsize automobiles
- Carry it right- Make sure it is not dangling on one shoulder or even loaded in the front. Using both straps with a tight fit on the side strings will assure the backpack is aligned is the correct way.
Hopefully that above information helps parents and kids alike to keep a safe backpack fit in order to reduce back pain risk. Don't forget also September 7th 10AM-1PM in Portland, Oregon Corazon Chiropractic Clinic will be holding its annual back to school event where we will be giving out backpacks and school supplies to children. Our staff will be on site to set up each child with a proper backpack fitting.