Tips for back-to-school spinal health for your kids
School is back in session for 2022. Not only does this mean another year of knowledge, it also means another year of students lugging around heavy backpacks day after day. Couple this with the stress of striving for success and you’ve got a recipe for chronic aches and back pains at a young age.
Carrying backpacks loaded with heavy textbooks, binders, and folders can inhibit the back’s natural development. Combined with posture challenges like sitting all day in class and hunching over a computer doing homework, your child might need some support—especially in these formative years. That’s where chiropractic comes in.
Chiropractic is a safe way for students of all ages to address some of the cumulative problems their posture might be subjected to each school day. It could be instrumental in combating back conditions that might otherwise follow your child through life.
1. Lift properly
Just like any other lifting, it’s important to be mindful of posture when picking up a backpack. Instead of reaching over and awkwardly curving the spine, use the legs to create leverage when lifting. Show your child how to put the pack behind themselves, put the arms through the straps, then use their legs to stand. Avoid slinging it quickly around the shoulders.
2. Use both straps
Many kids think it’s cool to use a single strap when carrying their backpacks. Unfortunately, while this might look cool, it’s a quick way to create unnecessary stress on the shoulders, neck, and spine. Wearing both backpack straps means the weight is more evenly distributed and ensures that additional stress isn’t placed on the spine. It may not look the coolest, but it’s better than chronic pain!
3. Keep the backpack light
While it’s important to take necessary school items, make sure your child limits other items in the backpack. They may also be able to take textbooks to class on alternate days or leave them at school when they don’t have homework. The aim of the game is to lighten the load, to make it more manageable on the spine.
4. Tighten the straps
If the backpack is hanging low, the straps aren’t tight enough. Make sure straps are secure on the shoulders and fit with the spine to create proper support. Loose-hanging backpacks cause gravity to work against the spine, which means exerting more effort to keep the pack in place.
5. Limit time wearing the backpack
Let’s face it: kids don’t often think ahead. Instead of thinking about which book they need for their next class, their minds are elsewhere. For most kids, the simplest solution is to carry everything, all the time. As you can imagine, this is unhealthy for the spine and not good for posture. Instead, encourage your child to use their locker or cubbie, so they don’t have to carry that heavy backpack all day long.
If your kid is experiencing back, neck, or shoulder pain, MGDodge Chiropractic is here to help. We’ve seen the damage that students suffer when their backpacks are filled to the brim. Contact us today to learn more about how to limit the stress on your kid’s spine.
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