How Heavy is that Backpack?
Author: Dr Balraj Ougra
Even though an iPad can store an entire library worth of books, most kids still trudge to and from school each day carrying an oversized and overweight backpack filled with heavy textbooks. While it may not seem like a big deal, recent studies have shown that carrying the weight of a typical backpack is one of the top reasons for kids to have back pain.
Why it Matters:
A vast majority of kids wear backpacks every day that weigh 6-7kg or more. That’s a heavy backpack! Over time, the stress of the load can result in back pain, a rounding of the shoulders and postural changes. The spinal compression caused by heavy backpacks often has kids leaning forward to compensate, which begins a vicious cycle of postural issues, compensation and pain.
· Up to 30% of kids may suffer from back pain due to carrying a heavy backpack.
· Limiting the total weight of the backpack to less than 10% of your child’s body weight is recommended.
· Instruct your child to wear their backpack with both shoulder straps fit snugly, so the backpack isn’t carried below the waistline.
Kids typically choose their backpack based on what makes them look cool. We recommend taking a second look and making sure the straps are wide and padded, the size is appropriate (and not too big) and that it has compartments to help distribute the load. If your child has pain, numbness, or tingling, give us a call. We would be happy to help get them back on track!
Backpack weight and back pain reduction: effect of an intervention in adolescents. Paediatric Research 2018