PT Rehab: How Posture Affects Back and Neck Pain

The Therapy Bulletin The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body BACKPACK SAFETY FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR

Wearing the backpack: • Distribute weight evenly by using both straps. Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort. • Select a pack with well-padded shoulder straps. Shoulders and necks have many blood vessels and nerves that can cause pain and tingling in the neck, arms, and hands when too much pressure is applied. • Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly on the child’s back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backwards and strain muscles. • Wear the wai t belt if the backpack has one. This helps distribute the pack’s weight more evenly. • The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back. It should never rest more than four inches below the child’s waistline. • School backpacks come in different sizes for different ages. Choose the right size pack for your child as well as one with enough room for necessary school items. • Only put items in your backpack that you need for the day.

Aching backs and shoulders? Tingling arms? Weakened muscles? Stooped posture? Does your child have these symptoms after wearing a heavy school backpack? Carrying too much weight in a pack or wearing it the wrong way can lead to pain and strain. Parents can take steps to help children load and wear backpacks the correct way to avoid health problems. Loading the backpack: • A child’s backpack should weigh no more than about 10% of his or her body weight. This means a student weighing 100 pounds shouldn’t wear a loaded school backpack heavier than about 10 pounds. • Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back (the back of th p ck). • Arrange books and materials so they won’t slide around in the backpack. • Check what your child carries to school and brings home. Make sure the items are necessary for the day’s activities. • If the backpack is too heavy or tightly packed, your child can hand carry a book or other item outside the pack. • If the backpack is too heavy on a regular basis, consider using a book bag on wheels if your child’s school allows it.

Physical Therapists Offer Backpack Safety Tips

Physical Therapists Offer Backpack S fety Tips

Physical Therapists Offer Backpack Safety Tips WRONG CORRECT WRONG CORRECT WRONG

Physical Therapists Offer Backpack S fety Tips WRONG

CORRECT

CORRECT

Strap on one shoulder Wide, padded straps on

Load too heavy

Load no more than 10%-15%

Strap on one sh ulder Wide, padde straps on

Load too heavy

Load no more than 10%-15%

of body weight

both shoulders

of body weight

of body weight

both shoulders

of body weight

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Wear both straps Use of one strap causes one side of the body to bear the weight of the backpack. By wearing 2 shoulder straps, the weight of the backpack is better distributed. Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles Pay close attention to the way the backpack is positioned on the back. It should rest evenly in the middle of the back. Shoulder straps should be adjusted to allow the child to put on and take off the backpack without difficulty and allow free movement of the arms. Wear both straps Use of on strap causes one side of the b dy to ear he weight of the backpack. By wearing 2 shoulder straps, the weig t of the backpack is better distributed. Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles Pay close attention o the way the b ckpack is ositioned on the back. It should rest evenly in the middl of the back. Shoulder straps should be adjust d to allow the child to put on and take off th backpack without d ffic l y and allow free mov ment of the arms. !

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