Rear view of school children with backpacks behind their backs walking to school together along the park

How Backpacks Affect Your Children’s Spine Health

If your children are heading back to school this season, then chances are they have a backpack to use throughout the year. While these bags are essential for most students, the way your children use them could be harmful for their physical health.

Keep reading below to learn from the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain about how backpacks affect your children’s spine health.

What Backpacks Can Do your Children’s Spines

If your kids are shouldering a lot of weight from their backpacks, here are the potential effects it can have on their backs and spines:

  • Lower back pain
  • Muscle strain
  • Irritation on the spine joints and rib cage
  • Distortion of the curves in the middle and lower spine
  • Poor posture
  • Loss of balance
  • Increase in falls
  • Muscle spasms

Overall, improper use of backpacks today can lead to long-term negative effects in the future. To prevent that from happening to your children, use these guidelines for backpacks.

Things to Consider When Using a Backpack

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child’s backpack weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s weight, but encourage keeping it closer to 10 percent.
  • Encourage your children to wear both straps at all times.
  • Adjust the straps on their backpacks so that it sits high on their backs. Also, make sure the straps are comfortable on their shoulders.
  • Their book bag should not extend past their waist. It should be an inch or more above their hips.
  • Their backpacks should not sway side to side when they walk.
  • Ask your kids to use the chest strap or waist strap if their packs have one.
  • If your children have to carry a lot in their bags, get them to to lighten the load by carrying their items in their arms.
  • The best kind of bags are rolling backpacks. These options don’t have the negative side-effects listed above.

If you have any more questions about how backpacks affect your children’s spine health, contact Alliance and Spine Health to speak with our specialists.