More and more children are experiencing issues with physical ailments people previously thought would only affect older adults. What is the reason behind these issues becoming far more frequent? The answer might surprise you – it is the use of school bags, filled with countless school supplies and heavy textbooks. Unfortunately, both school officials and parents do not give the harm their children’s school bags may be causing much thought.
One of the common mistakes that some children make is slinging their school bag over one shoulder instead of dividing the weight across both shoulders. This puts uneven weight on the shoulders and spine. As a result, because the weight is all to one side, the spine has to compensate to remain balacned.
Even if students do wear these straps, they wear them far too low. This again puts a great deal of adverse stress on the neck and upper spine. In order to compensate for the weight that is down low, students often lean forward.
Think about this, the same stress five days out of the week for 13 years. Sometimes this issue persists as young adults attend university. This can make lasting changes in how these children stand and lead to further issues such as dizziness and headaches.
It is more than just a spinal problem
It is important to remember that these are not just sore shoulders and sore backs that we are talking about here. In fact, spinal injury may have a direct effect on the central nervous system. This is called vertebral subluxation and it can leads to other medical problems.
In fact, vertebral subluxation means that there is a misalignment of the spinal column that leads to irritation in the nervous system. It has been associated with sinus/allergy type problems, headaches, neck pain, back pain, enuresis, asthma, and ear infections.
What can parents do right now?
There are a few things that can help prevent the needless issues that come with school bag misuse. Following these tips should ensure that the issues become less severe:
- The school bag should not weigh more than 5 to 10 percent of the student’s bodyweight. Having a heavier bag means the child will have to bend forward to support the weight of the bag. This means that rather than carrying the weight by the straps on the shoulders, it shifts to the lower back.
- The school bag should never be more than 10 centimetres (4 inches) from the waistline. Having a school bag that is too low will again cause stress on the shoulders. This means that the child leans forward when walking.
- Having individualized compartments in the school bag means that it is possible to organize and position the contents of the bag as effectively as possible. Bulky and pointy objects should be away from the area that rests on the back.
- Bigger is not always better, especially when it comes to school bags. While there may be more room available, it also means that your child is likely to carry more simply because they can. This means that the school bag is heavier as well.
- It is important to wear both shoulder straps on the school bag. Using only a single strap can lead to the weight shifting to one side in a disproportionate manner. This leads to muscle and neck spasms and lower-back pain.
- If you are buying a school bag, look for one with wide, padded straps. These will not dig into the shoulders and are far more comfortable than the non-padded straps.
- Speaking of straps, they need to be adjustable. It is important that the school bag be fitted according to the child’s body type. If straps are too loose, it can lead to spinal misalignment and pain because the bag will dangle uncomfortably.
- If the school bag is consistently too heavy, it may be important to have a conversation with the school. Perhaps the heaviest books could remain at school while workbooks or handout materials could be taken home.
Professional help is available
If you notice that your child is experiencing discomfort or pain related to school bag use, make sure to schedule an appointment today. Our professionals are licensed and trained to diagnose patients of all ages. They can help identify the issue and provide a gentle treatment option for children.
Not only is there treatment available to help reduce the stress on the spine and neck, but our professionals can prescribe exercises designed to help develop stronger muscles along with instructions on proper sleeping habits, good posture, and nutrition.
If you want an assessment of your child’s school bag or talk about possible developing spine problems, visit Total Back Care today. Call 8357 8211 now to set up an appointment and find out how to reduce these issues drastically.