Is back to school bad news for childrens backs and necks?

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New school clothes, new good fitting shoes – but what about the school bag?

WellBeing Clinics Derby and the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) are urging parents to think about their children’s posture as part of the preparation for the new school term. Whilst stationary and school books are important, it’s how your child carries them that could have the most impact on their growing spines and joints.

According to new research from the BCA, over a third (33%) of parents say that their child has suffered from back or neck pain in the past and, whilst back pain can be caused by a number of different factors, overloaded school bags can certainly be a trigger.

Most people being aware that a rucksack is the best type of bag to use to promote a more healthy posture, but despite this 31% of children still carry a one-strapped bag – which can cause a number of problems due to the weight being loaded onto just one shoulder.

When parents were questioned about what their children usually carry in their school bags, the most common items included books (87%), lunchbox (59%), sports gear, including trainers (43%) and now of course mobile phones (32%). Collectively, these items can become a heavy and, if carried incorrectly, that weight could lead to preventable problems down the line.

16% of parents admit to never checking their child’s school bag, the BCA is calling for parents to just keep an eye on what their children carry around with them on a daily basis.

Tim Hutchful, BCA chiropractor, comments: “Making sure your child doesn’t suffer from back or neck pain this autumn term can be as simple as checking they aren’t carrying around heavy items with them unnecessarily and that they carry their school bag correctly.

Chiropractors are seeing an increasing number of young people complaining of back and neck pains which can be due in part to the weighty bags they have to carry. Youngsters have more belongings than ever before, and with high cost items like mobile phones and tablets combined with less secure locker space available, there’s a tendency for them to overfill their bags and carry everything. However you could be helping them avoid painful back problems.

Top tips from WellBeing Clinics

  • Check it out – make sure you know what your child is taking to school with them every day as they may be carrying heavy items with them unnecessarily.
  • Choose the right bag – a rucksack is really the best option as long as it is carried over both shoulders and the straps are adjusted so that the bag is held close to the back and weight is evenly distributed. If your child has a one-strapped bag, make sure they carry it across the body and alternate which shoulder they carry it on.

Overall fitness is important to help prevent muscles tighten and fatigue. One way to help to keep children fitter and more mobile is to follow the BCA’s Straighten up UK simple 3 minute video exercise programme just click the link to watch it.  It’s great for busy mums and dads too so why don’t you all do it all as a family?

Don’t forget to share this advice with others!

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About the Author:

Derby Chiropractor Ian Reed and co founder of WellBeing Clinics Derby