Too many adults find themselves victims of the notorious “desk hunch,” a poor sitting posture taken all day at work that causes a milieu of musculoskeletal problems, but few ever consider the back pains that children may have. A recent study found that as many as 50% of kids complain that their packs are putting undue stress on their backs, causing them significant aches and pains.
While adults can easily change their habits or buy items such as back pillows to lessen the static posture and ease back pains, these poor kids are unable to do anything about their own circumstances.
More than 79 million U.S. students nowadays have to use backpacks, which are filled with textbooks that are heavier than ever before. Since these books can weigh up to seven pounds apiece, children have to take home 14 or 21 pounds of material. It doesn’t sound like too much, but when you consider that a grade schooler only weighs about 60 pounds, you realize that their backpacks weigh 23% of their body weight. For an adult who weighs 170 pounds, it’s the equivalent of carrying almost 40 pounds to and from work.
These overladen packs can be detrimental to kids, causing them to develop musculoskeletal issues at an early age. One particularly study measure the response of healthy children’s lumbar portion of the spine in response to school pack loads. The study naturally found that the heavier the backpack, the more significantly compressed their lumbar discs, which are their bodies’ “shock absorbers,” were. The study also found that the heavier the pack, the more asymmetrical the lumbar was.
Thankfully, parents can help their children buy buying the right kind of pack. It’s crucial that the backpack be a proper backpack, and not a messenger back. This ensures that the weight is distributed evenly on the body. Secondly, the pack itself needs to be lightweight, with padding in the back and wide straps. The lack of padding can make the load worse to carry, and narrow straps can dig into the shoulders.
Wheeled bags may seem like a convenient option, but they’re not nearly as practical and mobility becomes a serious issue. If you’re concerned about your child’s load, make sure that they have the right backpack, or else their problems may worsen over time.