Heading back to school shouldn’t be painful. After a summer spent being active with the family, as the kids head back to school we want to offer up some tips to help keep everyone’s health (mental and physical) in tip top shape.

Backpacks come in all sizes, colors, fabrics, and shapes and help kids of all ages express their own personal sense of style. And when used properly, they’re incredibly handy in keeping important things within reach at all times.

Many backpacks come with multiple compartments that help students stay organized while they tote their books, meals, planners, and papers from home to school and back again. Compared with shoulder bags, messenger bags, or purses, backpacks tend to be a better choice because strong muscles (the back and the abdominal muscles) support the weight of the packs.

When worn correctly, the weight in a backpack is evenly distributed across the body, and shoulder and neck injuries are less common than if someone carried a briefcase or purse.

As practical as backpacks are, though, they can strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if they’re too heavy or are used incorrectly.

Look for the following to choose the right backpack:

● a lightweight pack: get one that doesn’t add a lot of weight to your child’s load; for example, leather packs look cool, but they weigh more than canvas backpacks

● two wide, padded shoulder straps: straps that are too narrow can dig into shoulders

● a padded back: it not only provides increased comfort, but also protects kids from being poked by sharp objects or edges (pencils, rulers, notebooks, etc.) inside the pack

● a waist belt: this helps to distribute the weight more evenly across the body

● multiple compartments: to help distribute the weight throughout the pack

Although packs on wheels (which look like small, overhead luggage bags) may be good options for students who have to lug around really heavy loads, they can be very hard to pull up stairs and to roll through snow should we get any severe weather in those winter months. Check with the school before buying a rolling pack because many don’t allow them because they can be a tripping hazard in the hallways, not to mention the mess they can make in our wetter months.

Kids can seem physically invincible, but their little frames are just as susceptible to injury as adults. Injury at any age can lead to long term pain, and we at Momentum Chiropractic want to help you avoid that! Research has shown that at age 10, six percent of children suffer from lower back pain, and by the age of 14 – 16, 18 percent of children are suffering.

Thankfully, the causes of most back pain in children and adolescents are rather benign and easy to address. Most cases can be traced back to school-related activities, such as participation in sports, carrying a backpack, or sitting at a desk all day.

Should you and your family want to discuss spine health and preventive methods more with our skilled staff, we would love to meet with you and join you on your journey to healthier living!