As seen in the Daily Mail (11th March) there are real concerns that the kinds of bags that schoolchildren take to school, as well as how they are packed, can not only have an impact on children’s back health now but also later on in adult life.
It’s being increasingly recognised that it is essential to ensure that children are using an appropriate school bag and that the one they do use is not too heavy as these factors can have an effect on their posture and contribute to back and neck pain.
Tim Hutchful from the BCA has some advice “We recommend a backpack over other styles of bags as it allows the weight of the bag’s contents to be distributed evenly across both shoulders so the spine is not pulled out of line. However, the problem with a backpack is that they are often very large, with a lot of room which can therefore be easily be filled with too many items. We call this the ‘snail effect’, as children carry their whole lives on their back but the weight of a heavy backpack causes a child to lean forward to compensate for the backward pull. The posture is compromised as the neck is extended, and pressure is put on the hips and lower back, causing pain in all of these areas. It’s important to make sure that a child’s backpack is emptied regularly so they’re only carrying items they require on a daily basis’
Children also have a tendency wear their backpacks slung over one shoulder, which defeats the point of a bag with two straps, as the load is significantly weighted on one side of the body, pulling the shoulder down and putting pressure on the neck and spine. Backpacks should be worn on both shoulders, and the straps should be adjusted so that the bag is held close to the back. The contents of the bag should also be distributed evenly, with the heavier items at the top so that the shoulders aren’t pulled backwards, creating discomfort and more imbalance.”
The British Chiropractic Association has a leaflet specially for kids to help them and their parents make changes that can have a positive effect on their posture.
Click here to request a free copy by email or include a postal address if you prefer the information to be posted.