Even though technology continues to allow us to store more data on smaller devices, the bags we carry around all day don’t seem to get much lighter. This is especially true for students, where backpacks can be over-weighted with textbooks, technology, and school supplies. Throw on top of that the poor way kids wear those bags and it’s a recipe for back pain.

A large majority of children carry around backpacks that weigh 15lbs or more. For a grade schooler, that can be as much as 20% of their body weight or greater! Over time this loading will make changes not only to their general posture, but possibly permanent changes in the form of bone developmental issues due to spinal compression. This makes it incredibly difficult to alter posture later in life and can lead to chronic pain issues. Here are some pointers for better carrying backpacks:

  • Try to keep the weight of bags less than 10% of your child’s bodyweight, and not more than 10-15lbs.
  • Carry your backpack high on your shoulders so it doesn’t drop below the waist and keep the straps snug.
  • Avoid carrying bags on one shoulder. If you have a one-strap bag, alter sides often and don’t let it hang to low. (Better yet, switch out for something with two straps!)
  • Avoid carrying the bag for long periods. If you have a chance to stop, take it off and give yourself a break.
  • Help your student plan hallway routes that pass their locker more often so they don’t need to carry so much throughout the day and only bring what is necessary for their class(es).

We know it’s popular to choose your bag based on what looks cool or has the most compartment space. We think choosing to Live Better by having a smaller, more ergonomic bag will help you and your kids to Feel Better physically and Perform Better in school and extra-curriculars. And if your kid does happen to have an back or neck pain, headaches, or numbness and tingling, remember your Premier Gilbert Clinic, Better Chiropractic, is here to get your kids back on track—fast!