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Avoid back-to-school setbacks with backpack safety

Posted by PHS Chiropractic on Tuesday, September 06, 2022

“What are you carrying around in there?” Have you ever lifted your child’s backpack and wondered why it feels like a load of cement? With students heading back to the classroom, it is not uncommon for symptoms like headaches, upper shoulder pain, and lower back discomfort to surface due to overstuffed, improper fitting back packs. Heavy backpacks, especially when they are thrown over one shoulder, can place unnecessary stress on the neck and back that can lead to misalignments of the spine.


photo via Adobe Stock

Keys to Backpack Safety

As a general rule of thumb, backpacks should not exceed 10% of your child’s body weight. Backpacks that go over this recommendation can cause wearers to compensate for the extra weight by leaning forward from the strain felt in the shoulders, back, and neck causing the spine to get out of alignment. Muscle fatigue and weakness can result in poor posture and a misaligned spine.

In 2013, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission cited 5,415 backpack-related injuries treated at emergency rooms. Overweight backpacks can result in injuries ranging from acute and chronic back pain to other painful conditions.

AdobeStock_309830998To promote backpack safety at home, check to see that the backpack is the correct size for your child’s height. A correctly positioned bag should begin just below the shoulder and hang no more than 4" below the waist. Finally, the pack should be worn with both shoulder straps, and it should fit the body snugly to reduce movement and impact on the lower back while moving.

Backpack Safety Checklist

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends that backpacks should be chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Is the backpack the correct size?
  • Does the backpack have padded shoulder straps that are adjustable?
  • Does your child wear the backpack using both shoulder straps?
  • Does the backpack have a padded back?
  • Does the backpack have compartments inside to keep its contents in place and to help distribute the backpack's weight?
  • Does the backpack weigh no more than 10% of the wearer’s body weight?

This blog was curated from the article "Chiropractic Tips for the Back to School Season" by Lauren Love, DC on July 31, 2017. To read the full article, click here.

Tags: children, back pain

About Author

PHS Chiropractic

In the chiropractic field, flexibility is the name of the game. It’s our mantra too. Since we launched in 2005, PHS Chiropractic has become a leader in beautifully designed, customizable chiropractic tables and accessories. We design our base tables to be feature-rich, meeting the needs of the student or new practitioner. Yet as you grow your practice, our tables grow with you: We’ve dreamed up every possible feature, from drops to elevating heights to adjustable head pieces—all easily added to your existing table to broaden your options. It’s all part of the thought and care that we put into each and every PHS Chiropractic product. Made right here in the Midwest at our plant in Watertown, South Dakota, our products reflect our strong values: high quality, integrity, creativity and innovation. The result is a rich line of chiropractic tables and accessories—from our groundbreaking Tradeflex series to our patented ErgoStyle drops—all offering a high level of design expertise, patented features and great value that give you the tools you need to build a successful practice.