School will be back before we know it but before then we get caught up in new shoes, backpacks, books and more.
Recently musculoskeletal problems associated with backpack use by school children has become an increasing concern, prompting new research into this area. During time of accelerated growth in children the development of skeletal and soft tissues is rapid. External forces, such as load carrying, may influence the growth, development and maintenance of the alignment of the human body. As children who experience back pains are at increased risk of having back pain as adults, it is important to minimize the risk at as soon as possible.
Do Backpacks Affect Posture?
Adding weight to the back will cause the wearer to lean forward so as not to topple backwards. The shoulder position moves forward and the head also pokes forwards, and the heavier the load and the longer it is carried the more the posture is affected.
Selecting the Right Backpack
- Wider, padded straps help distribute the load better, reducing stress in any one area.
- Backpacks with multiple compartments distribute the load and prevent it from shifting.
- Waist belts hold the pack against the body and help transfer the weight onto the hips rather than the shoulders.
- A backpack that has additional padding in the area that rests against the back will fit snugly and will be more comfortable.
Smart Bag Carrying Rules
Sensible loads, within 10-15% of the carrier’s body weight, will reduce the incidence of pain and injury amongst backpack carriers.
The correct packing method and wearing style can also reduce the likelihood of injury. Heaviest, flattest items should be placed in the back (i.e. the area that touches the wearer’s back) and lower down. And the pack should be positioned such that the centre of the bag is at waist or hip level, so as to minimize forward body tilt.
Pilates is a great tool to get your child into at a young age. This can help to correct posture and stretch out those backs to prevent future problems. It will teach your children core strength enabling them to stabilize themselves and prevent them from leaning forward as much. It is also a great form of exercise and social experience that you can even do together! (if your child wants to be seen with you J