It is getting close to that time of year again, where we start to look at buying the supplies for the kids school year, and in particular, the kids school bags.
School bags (finally) are garnering more and more attention as a potential cause of pain and discomfort for school kids (1), with one Australian research study reporting nearly half of all kids say their school bag causes them pain (2, 3)
So what can be done?
Fit it right
A well fitted backpack will cause significantly less damage than one that is not fitted correctly. I know a lot of kids won’t like it (my daughter wants the steps all the way out, so the bag flops way off her back), but having both straps on and pulled up firmly will mitigate much of the damage. If you have a bag with an internal frame (most don’t), make sure it is fitted to the child correctly as well, or bring it in and we can help you with that.
Yes function is more important than “cool factor” in this case.
Pack it right
There are two things to consider here. Firstly, put everything heavy (laptops, text books etc) on the bottom, and near the front of the backpack. This means they have the most support, and are most easily carried, then pack the lighter stuff towards the front. A well packed bag can help a lot.
Secondly, maybe consider how much you are taking to school. Do you need every book every day? Can you take it, but leave a lot in the lockers or classroom so you can at least lighten the load a little throughout the day. Every little bit helps, especially when it comes to the spinal health of our kids.
Is the structure healthy?
As most of you know, we are a NeuroStructural Corrective chiropractic practice. That means that we are concerned with the structure and function of the spine and nervous system, and how to get it working at its best, and keep it working at its best. Often time, things like school bags can be a stress that causes a structural shift, and while changing the fit of the bag can help the secondary conditions like back and neck pain, it is important to check the child for structural shifts as well.
As you know, a consultation in our practice (where a consultation is a conversation, not a commitment) is free, so we can see if what we do is of value to the child (or adult).
So make sure the kids school bags are fitted, and used, correctly, for a healthy, happy, pain free school year.