Back to School does not need to Include Backaches

A big part of every parents back to school shopping is is a back pack. We just bought one for our youngest last week. It took a while to find one that was stylish and could carry everything she needed. I was more concerned about it having proper support and straps that could adjust to fit her correctly. After some searching, we found the perfect bag for her starting grade 3.

Every year we buy a new backpack as the old ones get pretty worn out. They even get stinky when the teens throw gym clothes in them and forget their lunches. As the kids grow, their bags change and their needs for bags change. I still need to take one of my teens out for his bag and he always loads it up with homework. Our youngest is usually just her lunch, a sweater and maybe a book. But he loads his bag so full of books I can hardly lift it. This can not be good for his back!

Kids have enough going on with the start of a new year, back pain is the last thing they need.

Back to School does not need to Include Backaches

The Ontario Chiropractic Association wants kids to avoid having back pain this year. Research shows that more than half of younger Canadians experience at least one episode of lower back pain by their teenage years. Carrying a heavy backpack can contribute to this pain.

According to the Ontario Chiropractic Association, one step towards managing back pain is identifying its source. Consider these possible causes for your child’s back pain and use these tips to help them stay pain and injury-free at home, in school and at play.

  • These days, kids spend much of their time playing games, watching shows or learning new things on tablets and smartphones. Though these technologies bring ease, convenience and often a whole lot of fun, they can also lead to neck strain, headaches and shoulder pain. The next time your child picks up one of these devices, remind them to hold the tablet or phone closer to eye level, take frequent breaks and maintain good posture.
  • Carrying a heavy, uneven load can result in muscle strain, back pain and even nerve damage. As you and the kids gear up for the coming school year, choose a backpack made of a lightweight material like vinyl or canvas with thick, adjustable straps and plenty of pockets to evenly distribute the weight of the pack’s contents. Also keep in mind that your kids’ pack should weigh no more than 10 to 15 per cent of their body weight – pack only the essentials!i
  • Whether they’re sitting in class or at the dinner table, always remind kids to straighten up and mind their posture. Sitting incorrectly puts a pressure on the lower back, decreases blood flow to the muscles and accelerates fatigue. To ensure sitting won’t cause them strain, teach kids to practice “active sitting:” keep feet flat on the ground with the back straight, shoulders squared and ears in-line with the shoulders.
  • Before your kids run off to the field, remind them to do a few warm up exercises and stretches to ensure their body is ready for play. A five-10-minute warm up like a light jog literally warms up the body’s temperature and prepares your muscles for physical activity.  Stretching increases flexibility and allows the joints to move through a full range of motion, reducing the risk of injury.
  • Caring for an infant? As you dote on your new bundle of joy, remember that it’s just as important to take care of your health. Lifting a baby several times a day is hard work and can damage your back if you’re not careful. When lifting your little one, remember to keep them close to your chest to ease the load. Keep muscles loose and nimble by joining baby for tummy time and stretching your back and neck.

Help your child keep their back in shape

  • Eat well and stay hydrated. The right nutrients from a balanced meal gives kids the fuel to take on any task. Staying hydrated helps their bodies maintain soft tissue elasticity and the fluid in their joints that keep them mobile.
  • Encourage kids to keep moving. Regular exercise can help strengthen their core and back muscles, making the spine more stable and less prone to injury.
  • Chiropractors are experts on your and your child’s spine, muscles and nervous system. They can show you why your back is hurting and what you can do about it, including manual therapy and exercises to help stop your pain from coming back.

This year I am going to do my part, I am going to encourage the kids to leave behind anything they do not need to bring home or to school. If they can not leave things behind maybe breaking up into another bag or having someone like me, help carry stuff will help.

Are you concerned about your child’s backpacks and how much they carry? Head on over to www.chiropractic.on.ca for more valuable tips and info.

 

 

Comments

  1. Lots of great tips! I wish Kindergarten teachers wouldn’t encourage they use of a huge backpack! My son’s is bigger than he is!

  2. ONE thing we found it that the cutsie bags you see in the stores aren’t big enough for what the students bring home every single day … we ended up getting ours from the local university shop, mostly because mine lasted over 20 years before wearing out.

  3. This is a really nice bag! I remember when it was cool to use only one strap … I wonder if that’s still a thing.

  4. Love this! I have had back issues for many years so this is something I find is very important. My oldest used to wear his backpack on one side of his back and complain of pain so I am always looking for ways to keep them pain free during the school year especially carrying all those books etc! Thanks for the great tips!

  5. Great idea! I think that is why I have back issues from when I wore my backpack on one side.

  6. A new back becomes an important item when it comes to back to school shopping and I agree a heavy backpack causes lot of backache related issues. These are some great tips to do our best to make sure the kids are healthy enough!

  7. These are all valuable advice on how to care for our spine. If I may add, standing up and doing some stretching after sitting down for long hours in class (or at work) can help prevent back pain. Simple exercises to straighten the back and loosen up the muscles would be great. Although we can readily point our fingers to the heavy backpack as the culprit for a child’s back pain, there are other factors too that may give rise to the condition, and most of them have been mentioned in this post.

  8. I was just discussing with a colleague how she suffers from back pain. I will definitely share these tips with her so she can identify behaviors that are causing her pain.

  9. I have always been concerned about the weight of the kids school bags. They have so many books to lug around. I need to get them a bag with a lot of support for this year.

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