Why in the world are kids carrying around 20 lb textbooks in their backpacks when everything has the ability to be digital?
Don’t even get me started!
Suffice it to say, they are, and it’s a pain in the back…and neck, and shoulders. The strain of continuous use of over-weighted backpacks is significant and can contribute to a multitude of issues such as:
- A strain on muscles
- Muscle fatigue
- Compression of the spine
- Misalignment of the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips
- Pain in the neck, head, shoulders, and back
- Poor posture
- Pinching of the nerves
- An increased vulnerability to injury
Tips on wearing a backpack correctly:
- Wear both shoulder straps to distribute the weight equally across the back. Even if it doesn’t look as cool or is as convenient as wearing it on one shoulder.
- If your backpack has a waist belt, which it should, use it. The waist belt will transfer some of the weight from your shoulders to the stronger muscles of your pelvis and legs.
- Lighten it when possible. If you can get your hands on an electronic copy, do. If you have to use a heavier-than-the world textbook, inquire whether you can have a copy to keep at home and one to use at school.
- Ask if your school allows you to use a rolling backpack. Sometimes you can use one if you have a doctor’s note.
How to manage backpack strain:
- Chiropractic. Chiropractic will help keep the spine aligned to prevent and resolve pain and dysfunction created by backpack use.
- Massage. Keeping the muscles long and relaxed with massage therapy can help reduce tension in muscles and reduce strain on the joints.
- Cold therapy. Decreasing inflammation from muscle and joint strain can be achieved by using a cold pack for 20 minutes at a time with 40 minutes of rest between applications. Remember to protect the skin from freezer burn.
- Magnesium. A natural muscle relaxant, magnesium when taken at night can help the muscles relax and function better.
- Far and near infrared sauna. This kind of heat can penetrate the muscle more effectively than hot packs and can increase circulation to the area that needs more oxygen and nutrients from the strain.
- Yoga and stretching. Elongate the shortened muscles with gentle, fluid movement.
Backpacks are a necessary evil when it comes to school. You can find the one I recommend here. Do your best to wear them properly and treat your spine, muscles, and joints well before and after.
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