In addition to the possibility of injury in the playground and on the sports oval, the seemingly innocuous trip to and from school also presents its own postural challenges to our kids.
According to an international study, daily backpack carrying is a frequent cause of discomfort for school children. School backpacks were felt to be heavy by 79.1% of children, to cause fatigue by 65.7%, and to cause back pain by 46.1%.5
Although fashionable, many of the current bags children are using for school don’t allow for even weight distribution across the back. What’s more, many children put extra pressure on their spine by carrying their bags well below their waistline/lower back. And often a loaded school bag is heavier than the ideal – which is no more than 10% of your child’s body weight.
There have been links established between thoracic (middle back) pain in adolescents from postural changes associated with backpack use and participation in certain sports 6. Furthermore, the thoracic (mid) to lumbar (lower) regions of the spine can experience deteriorating posture as a person becomes fatigued from carrying loads, such as backpacks. It can take less than 20 minutes of carrying a load for this fatigue to start7.
These problems are all the more concerning when you consider that spinal issues during adolescence can impact on the correct development of your child’s spine as they grow into an adult.
Common Posture Problems
Forward Head Posture
It has been found that a child is more likely to experience Forward Head Posture while wearing a loaded backpack.8
Slouch (increased Kyphosis)
It’s been reported that adolescent soccer players have a greater likelihood to experience upper back postural issues, such as kyphosis (the technical term for a problem like Slouching).9
It is also not uncommon to see children carrying school backpacks on one shoulder rather than using both shoulder straps for even support. This uneven weight distribution across the child’s shoulders and back can cause a postural compensation and result in uneven hips.
In severe cases, long term bad posture can lead to Scoliosis, a condition that results in the spine twisting from left to right, instead of running in a straight line from top to bottom. Depending on the severity, scoliosis of the spine can have a detrimental impact on vital organs, such as your heart, liver and kidneys.
The good news is that postural issues can be corrected, and even, in some instances reversed.10,11
Your local CAA Chiropractor can assess your spinal health and provide the Chiropractic care needed to improve it.
Your Chiropractor can also provide guidance on some exercises that, when done regularly, will help to strengthen your muscles and maintain improved posture.