We all know that heavy backpacks influence the health of our children and affect their posture, backs and necks. Studies show that 80% of the population will suffer from back pain at some time, but these days the back pain is especially common among the kids.
In order to protect their back, and to Top tips for your kids’ back care:
- Make sure your child exercise regularly, play sports, spend time outside running and being active
- Keep your children well hydrated and always pack a bottle of water to school
- Include protein in the school lunch menu to help repair tissue
- Ensure your child has a supportive mattress
The last and probably the most important tip is to check your child’s school backpack. A heavy backpack increases the risk of poor posture and possible injury. Children will often compensate for the weight with a forward head posture which puts stress on the whole body, especially the lower back and neck. A forward head positioning can cause pain, poor posture and potential permanent damage to growing spines.
Backpack weight can be kept lower by carrying only the essential books for the day and using a locker at school. Students can also partner with a friend to share a textbook during class, reducing some of the load. Take the time to teach your child how to wear their backpack correctly, if unsure speak with your local osteopath.
Osteopathy Australia recommends to encourage kids to, where safe to do so, remove their shoes and play outside for a while when they get home. This will loosen and relieve their bodies and boost their energy after a long day of sitting postures at school, and after carrying heavy bags.
Encourage your kids to do a few slow gentle stretches whenever it is convenient. The best stretching exercise is a spine twist. It comes from Pilates and helps to loosen the muscles and relax the back. Repeat several times. “When buying the backpack think about the comfort and not about the looks,” says Patricia Thomas, Sydney osteopath. “Choose a backpack that has wide shoulder straps with padding, don’t wear the backpack below the small of the back and always use the waist straps to help evenly distribute the weight of the pack.”