Taking Care of an Ill Loved One

Your Child's Aching Back: Spotting Problems From An Overweight Backpack

Young kids are facing more academic demands in school than ever with increased testing and performance measurements. With the increased demands often comes an increase in the number of books that kids have to carry to and from school. The added backpack weight could be causing serious back problems, both short and long-term.

What is the Concern?

Children shouldn't carry backpacks that exceed approximately fifteen percent of their body weight. Carrying more weight than that can lead to posture issues, muscle pain and other potential injuries. In some situations, it can even require the care of a physician.

What Are the Trouble Signs?

Pain in the Shoulders – Most kids carry backpacks over their shoulders. The straps can pull down on the shoulders, especially when it is overweight. The drag on the shoulders can actually strain the muscles along the shoulder and neck as well as the shoulder joints. If your child is complaining about persistent headaches or pain in his or her neck, that's a sure sign of a heavy backpack.

Discomfort in the Lower Back – When a backpack is too heavy on your child's back, you may see him or her lean forward a little bit to try to compensate for the extra weight. This can strain the lower back muscles significantly. Over time, this can cause tight, cramping muscles. If your child is struggling with this kind of pain and discomfort, you're likely to hear complaints about back aches and spasms in the lower back.

Aches in the Knees – When carrying too much weight on their backs, kids will often alter the way that they walk to ease the discomfort. This can put unnecessary strain on your child's knees, because it shifts the placement of his or her body weight. If your child's knees are consistently sore or you notice that he or she is favoring one knee over the other, it's an indication that there's strain on at least one of your child's knees.

An overweight backpack is more than just a nuisance for your child. It's actually a serious health concern. If your child has any of these symptoms, you'll want to consult a pediatrician, who can refer him or her to a back pain specialist for evaluation. If a school backpack turns out to be the source of the problem, consider petitioning the school for electronic book copies while your child is going through back and joint therapy. Contact a chiropractor like Chiropractor Plus for more information about easing your child's discomfort.