Backpack Your Way to Spinal Health!

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By Dr. Sender Deutsch
Published on July 9, 2012

Knowing the proper way to wear a backpack can help reduce the risk of childhood back pain.Lower Back Pain in Children Can Be Prevented by Knowing How to Wear a Backpack

As September approaches, it’s a reality, the summer has come to an end and it is “back to school” time!

The start of a school education year brings many challenges; however many parents overlook the need to prevent low back pain for their children. Research by the Ontario Chiropractic Association demonstrates that low back pain affects children just as much as adults and will further pre-dispose a child to back pain and sciatica as an adult. For this reason, learning proper posture is just as essential for children as it is for adults.

One of the most common causes of childhood low back pain is the improper use of wearing a backpack. Often you will see kids walking to school with their backpack over one side of their shoulder which can cause damaging effects. Repetitive strain injuries of the lower back causes the muscles on the opposite side to work harder in order to maintain the body from falling over to the side which may result in sciatica. Parents should encourage children and teens to wear back packs properly over both shoulders and use all of the supportive clips and buckles.

Heavy Backpacks Prevent Children From Developing Proper Posture

Often packed with too much weight, backpacks are causing kids to lose the natural curves of their spine. The heavy weight of the backpacks forces kids to lean forward which increases the pressure on their low back. For growing children, we need to strengthen their backs as they grow and heavy backpacks with improper fitting can do more harm than good!

As a general rule the backpack should weigh no more than approximately 10-15% of your child’s bodyweight. It is important to watch your children walk while wearing their backpack to ensure that they are able to walk comfortably while looking straight ahead. I often highlight that proper posture should be maintained by looking to ensure that their chin is up, chest is out, core back muscles are tight and shoulders are down and back. I recommend that parents do this check with their kids – try to make it fun so that you can ensure that your kids always remember how to wear a backpack!

ObusForme Backpacks are designed specifically to keep the weight of the back pack close to your child’s spine, specifically the small of the back. The lumbar support is extremely comfortable and ensures that proper spinal alignment is maintained while distributing the load evenly throughout. The support straps are extremely important as they can be adjusted easily to prevent the back pack from not being secure. This flexibility also allows your child to grow with the back pack. Help your child start the year off right—with a healthy back!

Furthermore, the Obusforme backpacks are endorsed by the Canadian Chiropractic Association and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association as they are ergonomically engineered to transfer the load from the weaker muscles of your low back to the stronger and more powerful core muscles of your hips and legs. The comfort support system provides excellent ventilation to prevent children from becoming sweaty and overheated leading to misuse of the backpack.

The start of another school education year brings lots of excitement and new beginnings. Please remember to take a few minutes to ensure that your child knows how to wear a backpack. Help your child start the year off right—with a healthy back!