It’s that time of year and as I drive past schools – I cringe at the way children are wearing their school bags, with complete disregard for their posture or the potential damage they might be doing by wearing their bags around their knees.
A systematic review found that one-third of adolescents report musculoskeletal pain monthly or more.
The spine is designed for specific areas to take the load, during this period of growth it’s important to help nurture the body even when adolescents seem hell bent on doing the opposite.
A study by the Chiropractic Association found that 50 per cent of parents thought their children had good posture, when in fact over 80 per cent of the children had bad posture!
Carrying bags with a single shoulder, causes a twist in the spine and gives the appearance of Scoliosis. Carrying all of the weight on your shoulders (where the shoulder straps are at maximum length and the bag hangs down near the buttock), causes the head position to move forward, straining through the neck and a roundness through the upper back and spine.
DO’S AND DON’TS
Ensure the bag fits – the bag should be no wider than the child’s chest.
Wide shoulders straps – straps that wrap around waist and chest to help distribute the weight evenly. You want a that can be adjusted to fit and grow with child, promoting the distribution of the load as close as possible to their centre of gravity, therefore correcting posture to an upright position by pulling shoulders back.
Packing the bag – ensure you put heavier things closest to the back of bag (closest to wearer) and the lighter things to front of bag. Always zip the zippers!
Weigh the bag – just because everything fits, doesn’t mean that it’s okay. Twenty per cent of your child’s body weight should be considered the absolute max to be carried in a bag.
If you’re concerned about your children’s posture, make an appointment with one of our Osteopaths today, or don’t and we’ll see them when they’re 60 and a hunchback!
Dr. Erin Coffey is an osteopath at the Health Creation Centre in Ocean Grove.