It is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!
Although back to school is looking anything but normal this year, we do want to ensure that everyone stays safe! As physiotherapists, we see backpacks contributing to back pain, neck pain, should pain, and headaches! When we combine the posture that comes with carrying a backpack that is too heavy or not fitted properly with the continuous posture that comes from looking down at their phones, we have a recipe for postural dysfunction.
So, how best to choose a safe backpack for the school year?
START WITH THE BAG: choose a lightweight bag (canvas or vinyl are best) with a padded back, two wide (around 2 inches in width) shoulder straps, a hip or waist strap and lots of pockets.
MAXIMIZE THOSE POCKETS: pick a pack with lots of compartments, and use them, to help balance the load.
HEAVIER ITEMS IN THE BACK: pack heaviest items closest to your back. Make sure items in the backpack are not sliding around.
PACK IT LIGHT: The backpack should only contain what is needed for the day. Kids in grades K-8 should not carry more than 10% of their total body weight. Kids in grades 8 and up can get away with up to 15%. Weight adds up quick so make sure to weigh that pack.
WEAR IT RIGHT: Place the backpack on a flat, waist-level surface and slip straps on one at a time. Adjust the straps so the pack sits flush against the back, it should be fit well but not be too tight (if you cannot slide a hand between the pack and your child’s back it is too tight. Use the hip or waist strap, it reduces the strain on the back.
A good fitting backpack will do the job and keep our students healthy! To learn more about A Body In Motion Rehabilitation and how we can help, please visit our website at abodyinmotion.ca. Wishing everyone a very safe and healthy return to the school year!
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