Choosing the Right School Bag – From an Oakville Physiotherapist

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It’s almost back to school time here in Oakville. This is the time of  year where people are wondering where their summer’s have gone, and building a “to do” list. Getting a new school bag is likely on the list for many people. Having a back-pack that is well fitting for school, and even for commuters, can make a world of difference! From a Physiotherapist and Massage Therapist Perspective, we often give tips to our patients regarding the fit of a bag.

What to Look for in a School Bag:

  1. Look for a bag that goes over BOTH shoulders. This may seem obvious, but lugging around a bag with text books and laptops over one shoulder can cause low back issues, as well as neck and shoulder discomfort. Spread the load over two straps.
  2. Ensure the bag is an appropriate size. This helps with the comfort when wearing it, and also ensuring that the bag does not become too heavy. The top of the bag should stay below the shoulders and the bottom of the bag should be above the hips.
  3. Share the load! Ensure that weight is distributed through the shoulder straps. They would be padded and wider. Also, an adjustable chest and hip strap helps distribute the force of the bag during the walk to school.
  4. It’s all physics. Place the heaviest items and books closest to the body. The body has to work harder there further the load is from its centre point.
  5. Unload the unnecessary. The bag should weigh approximately no more than 10% of a Childs body weight.

Our Oakville Physiotherapists and Massage Therapists are seeing more children and youth with neck and back pain. Often school bags and the loads carried are part of the issue. Another part of the issue is that many of our kids, unless involved in organized sports, aren’t moving enough. Playing and movement can help with endurance and strength of these muscles. So get moving as a family!

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