Health Blog

Health and Wellness.

03 Sep

It’s Back to School Time!
Learn How to Properly Wear a Backpack

By Abby LeBlanc, DPT

It’s back to school time, which means that kids across Cenla are filling their bags with heavy books and hauling them from class to class – except for those doing virtual school that is!

It is important to get an appropriate backpack for kids and to ensure that they are wearing them properly in order to reduce likelihood of back, neck, and shoulder pain and potential injury. Each year we see kids of all ages come to Elite Physical Therapy with neck, back and shoulder pain due to poor posture or improper wear of their back packs as well as heaviness and carrying too many books.

Carrying backpacks is a somewhat repetitive process that we don’t usually put too much thought into. With one swing, they are on our shoulders, and we leave them in whatever position that seems comfortable enough. But knowing how to carry a backpack properly can prevent long term shoulder, neck, and back pains.

Correct Ways to Wear your Backpack

1:  Always wear both straps

  • This allows the weight of the backpack to be evenly distributed to both shoulders and neck reducing strain
  • Only wearing one strap can increase the risk for postural issues and muscle imbalances.

2: Make sure back pack is high on your back

  • The backpack should not extend past your waist
  • Wearing the backpack pack too low increases strain on neck/shoulders and causes your child to lean forward
  • Use the chest and waist straps if available

3: Check the weight of your child’s backpack

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should carry no more than 10% to 20% of their body weight in their backpack. That means that it should probably weigh 4 to 15 pounds at most

You can reduce your risk (or your child’s risk) of back, shoulder, and neck pain by wearing a backpack correctly. Take the time to shop for the proper size and design of the backpack. Then be sure you only carry what is necessary and you don’t overload it. Your pack should lighten your load, not add to it.

How can Elite Physical Therapy help you?

At Elite Physical Therapy  we treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions – frequently including back and neck pain resulting from sustained postures, lifting heavy loads, and/or poor body mechanics. Our PTs can perform an assessment of your child to see if the backpack is being worn properly.  We can also perform a musculoskeletal evaluation to determine if any pain in the shoulders, neck or back is caused from sustained postures, poor body mechanics, or carrying too much weight in their backpack. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s posture or biomechanics, or if your child is complaining about any pain or decreased range of motion, give us a call at (318) 443-3311 to schedule an initial evaluation with one of our therapists. (We’re happy to work with adults suffering from postural pain too.)

Check out our video on YouTube and Facebook on Proper Backpack Wear! Coming out next week!

We’d like to see everyone have a Happy, Safe and Healthy Fall Semester!

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