Trauma And Injury Prevention
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Backpacks are wonderful ways to carry our school supplies. But, as helpful as they might be, they can strain muscles and joints and cause back pain if they’re too heavy or are used incorrectly.
Heavy backpacks can affect a child’s body in many ways. The spine is made of 33 bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae have discs that help absorb the shock to our bodies as we walk and move. The strongest muscles in the body — the back and the abdominal muscles — support the pack.
When a backpack is filled with heavy books and is incorrectly placed on the shoulders, the weight’s force can pull a child backward. To help balance the weight, children will bend forward at the hips or arch the back, causing the spine to compress in unnatural ways. This causes shoulder, neck, and back pain in many kids.
Lots of kids sling their backpacks over just one shoulder because it feels more comfortable. Doing this causes them to lean to one side in an effort to balance the weight. As a result, they develop lower and upper back pain and strain in their shoulders and neck.
Straps that are narrow or tight can dig into shoulders and cause problems with circulation and nerves. This often results in tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arms and hands.
How Do You Know If a Backpack Is a Problem? You may need to put fewer items in your pack or carry it differently if:
© 2012 Denver Health