One of the major complaints of school children is the heavy backpacks they have to carry to school each day. With the number of textbooks they are required to bring, not to mention their notebooks, pens and pencils, and snacks,  the weight adds up quickly and places a huge burden on their shoulders and backs.

Many parents become concerned that these heavy bags will cause serious back pain to their children and even result in severe back injuries or conditions like scoliosis. There are, in fact, many children that complain of constant pain in their shoulders, neck, and back as a result of their school bags, so the question becomes, “Do heavy backpacks cause scoliosis?”

Generally, the answer is no. Heavy backpacks will not cause scoliosis. The fact is, the root cause of scoliosis is often unknown. However, you must keep in mind that frequently using heavy backpacks can aggravate existing scoliosis, making the curvature of your child’s spine worst.

When a child is carrying a heavy backpack, he or she will always lean forward to balance the weight of bag.  As a result, their shoulders slouch and they simultaneously raise their head, which is not a normal position and can lead to pain in the lower back and shoulders.  This type of posture compresses the spine and presses the vertebrae to the discs, thus reducing the space between each disc. This, in turn, increases the abnormal curvature of their spine.

Though heavy backpacks are inevitable since children must bring everything they need to school, it is still important to teach your children the proper way to carry them. First of all, the load of the backpack should not weigh more than 10% of the child’s total body weight.  Teach your child to use both straps on the backpack, so they can balance the weight of their bag over two shoulders and not just one.  Some backpacks also have a hip strap to reduce the strain on their lower back. You may also want to buy a backpack that has padded backs on the straps for additional comfort.  For smaller children who would be carrying more than 10% of their weight, use a roller bag instead.

Chiropractor Manhattan offers helpful ways for patients to avoid activities or lifestyles that can aggravate their spinal conditions. Safe and effective treatments are tailored to each patient, so they have the highest quality care.

-Dr Sid
Esprit Wellness
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