Back Pain Starts Young – Tips to Ease the Burden

Written by John Groth

We’ve all seen the TV documentary where the scurrying ants are carrying portions of leaves and other vegetation back to their nest. Many loads carried by the ants exceed the ant’s weight. An almost similar scene is repeated every day at schools all across the county, and kids weighted down with overloaded backpacks trudging back and forth to school. Many only have to trudge with the heavy backpack from home to the bus and from the bus into school but the strain on their backs are obvious and could be damaging.

So book reports, various projects and science exams aren’t the only pressures on your kids at school. Wearing and walking with heavy backpacks, especially when wearing them the wrong way can lead to back pain, muscle strain and overall poor posture. In a recent study, almost 60% of students reported chronic back pain related to them.

It’s not only the back that takes a beating from the heavy backpacks. In a recent year almost 7000 emergency room visits were related top these injuries. They included ankle sprains from tripping over backpacks, broken bones from them falling on hands and strained shoulder and back muscles from lifting and lugging heavy backpacks. Almost half of the reported injuries occurred to children age 5 to 14.

Here are some tips to keep students safe and ease the burdens on their backs:

Load the Backpack Tight and Light: A loaded one should not weigh more than 15% of the student’s body weight. When loading them, pack heavier items first so they are closer to the back. Pack the bag tight so items do not slide around. If it’s absolutely necessary to have extra heavy loads provide them with a tote bag to hand carry some items or something with wheels that they can pull.

Wear the Backpack Properly: They are made to be worn on the back with both arms through the shoulder straps. Wearing the pack over one shoulder, dangling from one arm or draped around the neck can cause many strains and other injuries. When selecting a backpack, make sure it has well padded shoulder straps and keep the straps adjusted so the pack fits snugly against the student’s back. Always look for comfort rather than what happens to be cool.

Measure the Backpack: They should not be larger than the child carrying it. In looking at the proper size the bottom of they should rest on the curve of the lower back and should not sit more than 3 inches below the waistline. Upgrade the backpack as the child grows.

If Possible Downsize: Why carry a heavy book back and forth that only gets opened once a week? How about heavy binders with mostly blank paper? Do they need to be carried around? Make a game of downsizing the burden. Perhaps a duplicate book or workbook at home could reduce the load.

With these tips perhaps you can keep your student from having an accident with the overly heavy backpack or reduce or eliminate possible back pain.

John Groth is a back pain sufferer who has solved his back problems. For more valuable information on Back Pain Relief and for a free report on the Relief of Back Pain, you’ll also find guides on a full range of Back Pain Solutions.

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