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Back to School the Healthy Way

When you think of "Back to School", you probably think of school supplies and new clothes. While you are out shopping and looking for backpacks, there are are several things to look for to help prevent injury. First, look for a backpack with two straps. The straps should be wide and adjustable. Messenger bags aren't a good option because they do not allow for even distribution of the weight across your child's shoulders and can cause shoulder and back pain. Also when your child wears the backpack, place the heaviest items against the back and the lightest items toward the front of the backpack for more even distribution. Make sure the backpack is adjusted, so that the bottom of the backpack doesn't drop below your child's waist. When a heavy bag is dropped below the child's waist, it causes an exaggeration of the lumbar curve of the low back, which can lead to low back pain and also could throw your child off balance. Check your child's backpack on a regular basis for weight. The backpack should weigh less than ten percent of your child's body weight. Encourage your child to look for unnecessary items that may be causing the bag to be heavier and remove them before going to school. If your child has to bring heavy books to and from school, encourage him or her to utilize his or her locker and if that isn't an option due to time constraints, carry some of the books so that the weight is more evenly distributed between the back and shoulders. As your child increases computer use, backpack use, and is more active with sports its a great idea to get checked for vertebral subluxation or, misalignments of the spine and other joints.

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