With Back-to School happening here in Oakville and the surrounding areas, many students are excited to have new clothes and back-to school supplies including backpacks. As Physio’s and Massage Therapists we definitely cases related to back packs (as well as posture). It can certainly be cute to see the little ones with a bag that’s almost as big as them or cool for older kids to wear a bag off of one shoulder, but more often the way back packs are used can cause unnecessary back and neck strain.
Some tips to prevent backpack related strains and pains include:
• Ensure the bag is not overloaded / too heavy. A bag should weigh no more than 10-15% of a child’s body weight. If the bag is too heavy you’ll see kids lean forward in an attempt to offload some weight, a position that can take weight off the shoulders but add to the strain on the back.
• Pack the bag so it lies flat against the back.
• Use padded straps to help offload some weight.
• Use the chest strap to help distribute the weight of the bag more evenly
• Use adjustable straps. The bag should sit at the top of the shoulders and flat on the back. If it is too low or hanging off the back it may feel heavier.
• Both straps should be used. Using only one strap can cause torsion and an uneven loading of the spine. Over time this can be aggravating.
Palermo Physiotherapy and Wellness Centre provides Physiotherapy, Massage Therapy and Chiropody (foot care) in Oakville and to the surrounding areas of Burlington, Milton and Mississauga.