It is tough when a child comes to you complaining of back pain. As a parent, you want to soothe the ache away immediately, but back pain is one of those ailments that can be caused by a number of different problems. One common source of back pain in younger children relates to their school bag, so when was the last time you took a closer look at what they are taking to and from school these days?
School Bag Type
Children like to choose a school bag based on the colour or popular character that it has on it, rather than whether it is a practical choice to carry their books to school. The problem with this idea is the wrong choice will directly increase the pain they experience.
A school bag that hangs on one shoulder will cause your child to lean to one side when it gets too heavy. The practice of looping the strap over the neck is even worse because it stretches the neck muscles to one side of the body as the weight of the bag pulls it over.
You may assume that a backpack is the better alternative because the weight of the bag contents is balanced across the two shoulders. While this partially true, it depends on how the backpack is packed when the books are put in there. If the books are packed against the outer edge of the backpack, that is the edge that is opposite the back. This weight pulls against the shoulder muscles and that also causes back strain.
Fixing The Pain
Buying a backpack and teaching your child how to properly pack the bag is the first step to reducing the pain their school bag is causing. The heaviest items they carry should be placed closest to the back of the child.
The second step is to talk to a chiropractor about how you can protect their back, neck and shoulders from any further damage. Shoulder muscle exercises such as pushing against a wall, for example, will help to strengthen the shoulder muscles that the backpack sits on. Back muscle exercises help to strengthen a child's middle core so they have a strong, straight posture capable of carrying the weight on their shoulders.
As well as exercises, a chiropractor can regularly massage the back and spine to make sure the muscles keep the spine correctly in place as your child grows. A curved spine could occur if the muscles continue to pull the spine out of alignment over a long period of time, so having this regularly checked by a chiropractor can prevent it from happening.