The School Bag Dilemma

The School Bag Dilemma

You can’t tell your children not to bring their textbooks to and from school – but what if the consequence of a consistently overloaded backpack is neck, back and shoulder pain?
Chiropractors, paediatricians and orthopaedic surgeons all agree that backpacks are a problem for a child’s spine.
While health care professionals do not agree on the exact weight, the consensus is that a child burdened with more than 10 percent of their body weight risks back and neck pain. Carrying 15 percent or more of their body weight can lead to severe back, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, and other spinal discomfort – not to mention aggravate pre-existing spinal conditions such as scoliosis.
The first priority in purchasing a backpack is to select function over fashion. Here are a few criteria to consider when choosing a better backpack:

  • The backpack should fit properly (not too long or too short).
  • It should have wide, padded, adjustable straps for proper positioning on the back.
  • A backpack with a hip strap or lumbar pillow provides additional protection. The hip strap, when used, can distribute a portion of the weight to the hips, easing the load on the spine and shoulders. The use of a lumbar pillow will provide the necessary back support to the lumbar region, where the greatest portion of weight is being carried.