New friends, new clothes, new teacher, new backpack, new aches and pains. Going back to school shouldn’t be a pain in the neck, but some students experience neck and shoulder pain due to improper backpack use. Help your child stay pain free with these tips:
Wear it properly.
While wearing a backpack with loose straps and on one shoulder might make for great photos in catalogs, it’s not great for your child. In the long run, wearing a heavy backpack loosely on just one shoulder can cause neck and shoulder pain that may keep a child from participating in the activities he or she enjoys.
Backpacks have two straps for a reason. For proper support, a backpack should be worn up high with both straps cinched up tight so that the bottom of the backpack does not go below the belt line.
Lighten the load.
At the beginning of the year, the supply list for students can be fairly lengthy, but that doesn’t mean students need to carry everything with them every day.
Think about ways to lighten the load. For example, if a student needs a full ream of paper for the school year, they often put all the paper in their notebook instead of just enough paper for the day or week. Older children can make more trips to their locker to drop off and retrieve books needed for different classes instead of carrying them all at once.
Remind your child that having a big roomy backpack doesn’t mean it needs to be full. Your child should only carry what is necessary.
Think outside the pack.
If your kids are carrying all their books to and from school every day, consider asking the teacher if there is a possibility of borrowing or purchasing an extra set of books to keep at home.
You can even consider an alternative to traditional backpacks. Some packs now come with wheels so students can cart around books and supplies without having to carry them on their backs.
Recognize the signs.
If your child’s backpack weighs a ton to you, then it is too heavy for your child. If your child is complaining more, rubbing their neck all the time, or if it hurts for them to look down to read, consider reevaluating their backpack and be sure to talk with your child about proper backpack use.
If you need further assistance, give us a call at Rehab Associates of Central Virginia and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.