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Backpack Safety & Health Concerns

3 January, 2017

The new school year means carting around heavy backpacks. Dr Cassie, one of our Chiropractors, discusses the health concerns around poorly fitted, heavy bags.

Each January, we offer free backpack and postural assessments for kids returning to school.

Whilst kinder & prep students look very cute with their over-sized, they’ll-grow-into-them backpacks, this is overloading their delicate and developing spines. This is of course not limited to new school goers but spans the spectrum to university students and workers carrying heavy loads in awkward positions.

Uncorrected postural issues, heavy school bags and poor lifestyle choices can all lead to spinal health problems as a child grows. Childhood spinal health problems often go unnoticed. What starts as poor posture, back pain and “growing pains” can develop into an accepted part of everyday life.

This can lead to serious musculoskeletal concerns immediately or later in life such as reduced mobility, possible early joint degeneration and increased vulnerability to injuries.

Children’s spines are still developing and placing unnaturally heavy loads can initiate issues with the spine, muscles and nerves.

Students may experience:

  • Rounded shoulders and poor posture
  • Distortion of natural spinal curves
  • Back pain
  • Pins and needles in the arms or legs
  • Muscle strain
  • Fatigue due to poor posture & pain

Back pain in children and adolescents is a strong indicator of adult back pain, particularly persistent back pain in adults. The risk increases with longer durations of back pain in growing spines.

Your child’s backpack quickly adds up in weight. It is important to ensure that the weight of the backpack is appropriate for your child and their current level of development. We will be performing Chiropractic postural assessments as well as assessing the use and weight of your child’s backpack. This free service is aimed at reducing future musculoskeletal concerns.

According to the Chiropractors Association of Australia (CAA), 90% of school children have poor posture when carrying their bags and could experience unwanted spinal stress and damage as a result. Additionally, 75% are not wearing their school backpacks properly which may be exacerbating the problem.

Now imagine this extra load 5 days a week for 13+ years!

Chiropractic care can restore function and relieve pain symptoms associated with the carrying of heavy backpacks. Chiropractic assessments and treatments are specific to the age and development of the patient. Treatment approaches may include non-manipulative mobilisations, adjustments, massage, home exercises and lifestyle advice.

Body and Brain Centre offer free backpack and postural checks for school aged children.  Please call the clinic on 9328 2642.

Appointments available in Moonee Ponds or online.

About the Author

Dr Cassie Atkinson-Quinton - Paediatric-Trained Chiropractor & Paediatric Sleep Coach

Dr Cassie is a paediatric-trained chiropractor, sleep coach and, most importantly, mumma to Master H. She loves seeing newborns grow into inquisitive toddlers and busy school kids. She assesses for neurological development (primitive reflexes), posture, sleep health and movement patterns. She's an eager learning just like the kids she sees.

"It's better to grow healthy children than fix injured adults."