The kids are back to school, which means it’s time to set good, healthy habits for backpacks. Too often kids are dangerously weighted down with laptops, lunches, books, instruments and other supplies. It can be a lot of strain for their little growing bodies! Be thoughtful about the amount of weight they are carrying, teach them the best carrying posture, and you’ll avoid painful problems in the future.

Make sure it fits.

The straps should be tight enough so the backpack lies very close to the child’s back. If there is too much room between the back and the child, then it can sway from side to side or pull down on the shoulders. This can cause strain and muscle pain.

Pack smart.

Just like we shared in our blog post “Hiking Shouldn’t Hurt” you should pack the heaviest items at the bottom of a backpack. This means most of the weight you are carrying is low and close to body. This engages the core instead of straining the shoulders.

Slow down, kiddo! Let’s lift mindfully.

Teach your child not to whip the backpack up and over the shoulder. It’s easy to make this misstep when you’re in a hurry to get out the door but just like picking up other heavy items, quick motions can cause injury. Encourage your child to move slowly and use their legs when picking their pack up off the ground. Then, gradually straighten the knees, slide through the arms and shoulders.

Use both straps.

This one should be easy, but kids often need to be reminded. There’s a reason backpacks have two straps. Don’t ever sling a backpack over one shoulder, even if you’re walking a short distance. The straps work together and distribute the weight evenly across the body.

Signs to watch for? Red marks on the shoulders, aches in the neck, sore shoulders, headaches, leaning forward, and generally bad posture are all clues that your child’s backpack is causing problems.

Is your child experiencing joint or muscle pain? Total Body Chiropractic & Massage treats children of all ages and we tend to see many adolescent patients when school is in session. Long hours sitting, poor posture at desks, backpack weight, and computer/tablet time can lead to pain issues throughout the school year. Let us help your child feel better with total body chiropractic care.