A LOCAL CHIROPRACTOR HAS A LOT TO SAY ABOUT BACK PACKS AND KIDS: HERE ARE TIPS ON HOW TO STOP YOUR CHILD FROM GETTING "BACK PACK SYNDROME" WHICH CAN HURT NOW AND IN THE FUTURE
Kim Kromas, DC, PhD
I remember the end of every summer when I was a kid. I was so excited to pick out my new backpack for school. I picked out a pattern that was really cute or cool at the time. Who cared how sturdy it was or how much weight it had to hold? I had a locker to keep my books in and I only took home what I needed. This started in 7th grade.
Time continues to alter the necessities of life. Our kids now need backpacks that hold sometimes as much as 40% their own weight. This starts in 1st grade.
Complaints and concerns about the weight of student’s backpacks comes from parents and students. This situation is common for me, a Chiropractor for the past 22 years.
Does the weight that a child or teenager needs to carry in their backpack affect their growing spine? Absolutely. As the spine is growing, specific curves in the spine need to be maintained. The weight of books and accordion folders forces the shoulders to hunch forward and downward, putting more pressure on the necks and middle back of our children. This eventually affects their lower backs. Symptoms of “backpack overload” are headaches, neck pain, midback pain and low back pain.
I interviewed four girls going into the 3rd and 4th graders about their experiences with backpacks:
1. Leilani – The weight of the “normal” backpack with two straps makes her lean forward. This causes her back pain.
2. Jackie - She carries her backpack on one shoulder and she feels pressure on her right shoulder and left hip.
3. Keli –Her over-the-shoulder backpack puts pressure on her neck, hip and shoulders.
4. Lily – Her rolling backpack really works for her. She does have to leave it at the bottom of the stairs if her class in on the second floor.
What to look for in a backpack:
1. Thicker shoulder straps
2. Be sure the top of the backpack is as high as possible (close to the shoulders)
3. The smallest backpack with the most pockets inside the shell (not outside)
What is the best backpack?
Airpack backpacks are the best alternative to traditional backpacks I have found. They have a pouch that is filled up with air located at the lower back. This pouch redistributes the weight of the books and takes the weight off of the shoulders. Air backpacks have thicker shoulder straps and decrease the weight on your spine by up to 50%.
What is the cost of an Airpack?
Look on-line at Amazon or E-bay for an Airpack. We have not been able to find a reduced price for Air-packs, but if we do, we will let you know. The cost is anywhere between $35.00 and $70.00, depending on what you need it for.
-- Kim Kromas has 22 years of chiropractic experience. You can reach her at:
Chiropractic and Nutrition Center
302 W. 5th Street, #101
San Pedro, CA 90731