Is Your Backpack Making the Grade?
Preparing for the start of a new school year in Fort Myers can be both exciting and overwhelming and often leads to the purchase of a wide variety of supplies. Ranging from pencils to clothing, there are a number of items that are essentially synonymous with education. One of these is the backpack. Students of all ages, from those attending elementary school to college, use a backpack almost daily to help transport their books and school supplies from class to class, sometimes trekking across large campuses while doing so. Did you know, however, that this common part of the school day could create some serious issues requiring chiropractic care.
A Common Complaint
One of the most common complaints of pain in the United States is back and neck pain. Chances are good that when you think of these issues you imagine that the individuals experiencing them are adults. Unfortunately, even young school children can develop back pain as a result of overfilled and heavy backpacks. This is especially true depending upon the style of the backpack and the way it is worn. In order to help stave off back pain complaints, there are a few things to keep in mind when you or your loved one get ready to head back to classes.
Watch the Weight
The first thing to keep in mind with backpacks is that the weight matters. In general, bags that weigh more than 15% of an individual’s body weight are more likely to cause back pain, so the amount of weight you carry should be closely monitored and fine-tuned to suit your personal needs and abilities. That might mean that you can carry even less than 15% of your body weight, also, pay attention to what your body is telling you and adjust accordingly. It is also worth noting that the weight of the backpack itself can also play a big factor. Some packs are heavier than others, with particularly rugged styles often weighing the most. Opt for the lightest bag possible that is still strong enough to hold your belongings.
Wear it Well
In addition to the weight of the bag in question, it is important to keep the way in which it is being worn in mind, too. It is common to sling a backpack over one shoulder. This is often easier than taking the time to wear it properly, makes donning the pack quicker and to be honest students tend to think it looks ‘cool’. With that said, keep in mind that wearing the pack over one shoulder distributes the weight unevenly. Even if you are ensuring that your backpack weighs as little as possible, you could still end up with pain if you wear it improperly. Putting uneven amounts of weight on the shoulders, can irritate the muscles and cause inflammation and can lead to misalignments!
Instead, take the time to wear the bag over both shoulders. This not only helps make sure that the bag’s weight is carried evenly, but it also enables you to walk while maintaining good posture. You should also make sure that you are not wearing your backpack too low on your back. Doing so can add more pressure on your shoulders, which, in turn, can lead to lower back and shoulder strain. You might even begin to adopt poor posture as a result, such as walking with a forward lean, having rounded shoulders, or forward head carriage. This increases the pressure on your back and increases your chances of experiencing back pain. Pain can often distract the students focus leading to reduced scholastic performance. Our students are our future leaders, the time they spend learning and how they feel doing so matters tremendously.
Keeping your backpack high on your back, having wide straps, and worn across both shoulders is the best way to avoid neck pain, back pain and back strain. We, at Teachout Chiropractic & Wellness Center, are happy to weigh your backpack and make sure it is fitted properly, FREE of charge.
If you find yourself with aches and pain in your back and neck as the school year resumes, Dr. Eric Teachout may be able to help! He can assess the alignment of your spine and adjust it as necessary to eliminate imbalances and pain. Reach out to the wonderful staff at Teachout Chiropractic and Wellness Center of Fort Myers today for information about what our services can do for you!