We all want the best for our teens—especially as they embark on another exciting school year in Hampton Roads, Virginia. However, sometimes the tools meant to support their learning, like backpacks, can lead to unexpected pain.
This blog will look at overloaded school backpacks and the pain that might affect your teen-aged child. We will also explore ways to address this issue, including how to shop for a new school backpack.
The Strain of the Backpack
By design, the back will compensate for any load applied to it. Picture this: A teen, excited for their day in a Virginia Beach school, slings on their backpack, not realizing that the weight is slowly harming their back. Picture your teen's backpack - X-Box Controllers, water bottles, computers, extra batteries, and more. This isn't a one-time event. This chronic routine may cause them to experience back pain throughout their school years, including college.
What are the effects of an overloaded backpack? From a physical therapy view, here is a list of impacts:
- Exert undue pressure on the lower back, potentially leading to disc compression.
- Distort the natural curves in the middle and lower backs, causing muscle strain and irritation to spine joints and the rib cage.
- Cause lumbar asymmetry or curvature in the lower back.
- Lead to rounded shoulders, which in turn affects posture.
- Pull on the neck muscles, giving rise to headache, shoulder pain, lower back pain, and neck and arm pain.
- Make someone lean forward, hampering balance and raising the risk of falls.
Preventative Tips: Backpacks and Pain
Backpacks and back pain don’t have to be lifelong partners! Back-to-School is the perfect time to review some tips with your kids. (These tips are also helpful for adults that regularly use a backpack during their commute to work or for hobbies and adventures.)
Some precautionary steps include:
- Use both shoulder straps for balance.
- Opt for lightweight, padded backpacks.
- If available, pick backpacks with wheels.
- Make use of lockers to reduce carrying weight.
- Regularly empty backpacks of unnecessary items.
- Limit backpack weight to 15% of a child's body weight.
Shopping for the Perfect School Backpack
Shopping for a new school backpack is exciting—no matter the student's age. But choosing a backpack isn’t just about colors or trendy designs; it’s about ensuring it supports your teen's health. You have read about the link between school backpacks and pain. Now, here are some tips from the Therapy Network staff to keep in mind when shopping for a new backpack:
- Opt for backpacks with wide, padded straps.
- Seek multiple sections for even weight distribution.
- Consider waist belts to help distribute weight.
- Reflective material is a plus for children commuting during low light.
- Aim for a lightweight design.
Physical Therapy: The Solution to Backpack-Induced Pain
If your teen in Hampton Roads feels the aftermath of a heavy backpack, physical therapy is the way forward. It alleviates pain and strengthens muscles, ensuring future resilience against injuries. School backpack-induced pain should not be ignored.
“A great way to prevent back injury is to strengthen the stabilizing muscles of your torso, including your lower back and abdominal muscles.”—KidsHealth.org
Enter The Therapy Network…
When the talk comes to expert physical therapy, look no further than The Therapy Network. With six accessible offices throughout Coastal Virginia, including Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, and Chesapeake, we are always within reach. What makes us even more special? No need for a physician's referral to start your teen's healing journey with us! We prioritize convenience with immediate appointment availability.
In conclusion, while backpacks are a school staple, ensuring the correct use is vital. As we've learned, overloaded backpacks can be the villain behind back and shoulder pain. But with the right backpack and the expert care from The Therapy Network, we can ensure our teens and children are pain-free and ready to conquer the world!
If your teen is experiencing back or shoulder pain, don’t wait. Visit one of our six locations in Coastal Virginia today. The health of our future, our children, rests in the balance. School backpack-induced pain may not resolve on its own.
And remember, at The Therapy Network, a healthier future is just an appointment away!