Attleboro, MA Chiropractor
Miller Chiropractic Health Center
1237 South Main Street
Attleboro, MA 02703
(508) 226-2333
(508) 226-2421 fax
Chiropractor in Attleboro, MA Call For Pricing

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It's that time of year again, when children are back in school.  Kids today will head out the door with school supplies and books in abundance.  Now is the time to check your child's backpack that is carrying all of their "stuff" to and from school.  

I always wanted to have an awesome backpack each year.  It had to be the right style, have a certain amount of pockets, color mattered, and it had to be "cool".  These were my stipulations as a student when shopping for the perfect backpack, but I never thought about ergonomics. 

Now I will be the first to admit that I believe in self-expression, it is extremely important; but I also believe in wise decisions.  There is a healthy balance between fashion and function.  Teamwork is key! So, moms and dads, read carefully to help your child find the appropriate backpack of their dreams, one that looks great and is ergonomic!

I'm sure you are wondering what is so significant about something as simple as a backpack? While there has been no significant research on long-term, negative effects; most healthcare officials agree that excessive weight and certain bag styles can cause nerve pressure around the neck that could lead to muscle spasms, neck pain, or shoulder pain. In 2006, The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 7,300 injuries were treated in U.S. Emergency rooms because of backpacks.

In today's society, kids are carrying excessive weight in their backpacks.  Children should not carry more than 15% of their bodyweight, with 10% being the preferred amount.  So a 100lb child should not carry more than 10-15lbs in their backpack.  It's important that parents be proactive, helping their children load their backpack, so that it is not "overloaded".  They should also routinely look through their child's backpack to help eliminate any accumulated clutter.  

Weight of the backpack is not the only issue that needs to be observed when shopping for the "perfect backpack".  The American Chiropractic Society (ACA) has a checklist that they recommend parents ask the following questions when choosing the best possible backpack:

•    Is the backpack the appropriate size for your child? The backpack should be comparable in size to the child's torso (heighth and width), not extending more than four inches below the waistline.  A backpack that hangs too low will increase the amount of weight on the child's shoulders, causing your child to lean forward to even out the weight distribution.  Also, the bigger the backpack the more room for stuff!
•    Does the backpack have two wide, padded shoulder straps? The padding is merely a comfort addition, stopping the straps from digging into your child's shoulders. Two straps are better than one, two straps allow for distribution of weight on both shoulders.  Backpacks with only one-strap or messenger bags cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side that causes neck musculature to spasm, neck pain, and low back pain.  
•    Are the shoulder straps adjustable? Adjustable straps allow the backpack to be properly fitted to your child's body.  A backpack that is too loose causes the backpack to dangle leading to discomfort and spinal misalignments.  
•    Does the backpack have a padded back? A padded back increases comfort and protects sharp objects (pencils, rulers, book corners, etc) from poking your child.
•    Does the backpack have multiple compartments? Multiple compartments will facilitate in even distribution of contents.  

It is important to remind your child that they don't need to carry everything in their backpack at one time.  On days when the backpack is fuller make sure to place the heaviest items in the rear of the backpack and to carefully position items with sharp edges.  Also, periodically remind your child to let you know if their backpack is causing any discomfort.  If the pain becomes persistent, then seek care from a healthcare professional, such as a doctor of chiropractic.

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Attleboro, MA Chiropractor Miller Chiropractic Health Center 1237 South Main Street Attleboro, MA 02703 (508) 226-2333 Chiropractor in Attleboro, MA Call For Pricing