Proper use of backpacks key to avoiding back pain
With school back in session, many students are using backpacks to carry their books and just about everything they need at school.
Backpacks can be a convenient way to carry stuff, but if they're not worn properly or if they're too heavy for the child, they can cause back pain.
Here's the proper way to wear a backpack, according to Dr. Kirk Nelson with the LSU Health Sciences Center's Department of Physical Therapy:
"Wear the backpack so that the top of it is around where the shoulders are, where the shoulder straps are pulled tightly. Both shoulder straps are worn, the waist strap is used and the bottom of the backpack does not go much lower than the low back or buttocks."
Nelson says it's recommended that a backpack weigh no more than about 10-15% of the student's body weight.
Some kids, instead of wearing backpacks, are using bags on wheels that can be pulled like a suitcase. Nelson says that would take the weight off of the back, but he questions their convenience.
"We still have to lift that and transport it into the bus or into the school upstairs, manipulate it around desks in the school system," Nelson said.
Bottom line: backpacks are fine if they're worn properly and are the proper weight for the student.