Backpacks are essential for students, from kids to adults. But, what some people don’t know is that backpacks can be a great source of discomfort. From carrying too much weight in it to tripping over one, several orthopedic-related injuries may occur.
With this in mind, here are tips from Coastal Orthopedics to think about this school year:
Don’t overload it. Too much weight over time can cause significant stress on your shoulders and back. And for smaller children, an overloaded backpack can cause them to lose their balance, fall, and injure themselves. A good rule of thumb is to keep your backpack at ten percent or less of your body weight.
Carry your books. If you need to haul a lot of books to class, students should carry a book or two in their arms to alleviate the load.
Life with caution. As you do with any object, use your legs and keep your back straight when lifting your backpack over your shoulders. Additionally, parents should help small children, especially with heavier bags.
Carry it properly. Place both straps over each shoulder to balance the load and avoid using just one strap, which places all pressure on one shoulder. Consider using the waist strap if available, which helps direct the load to the stronger waist and hip muscle groups.
Don’t ignore pain. Children’s complaints about back pain are often mistakenly viewed as growing pains. Carrying a heavy backpack incorrectly can cause or contribute to muscle strains and even scoliosis. Parents should seek medical attention if your child complains about recurring pain.