Last month Bobbie (name changed for privacy), presented to our office for neck pain mid back pain, and lower back pain after a rear end motor vehicle accident in which she was a seat belted passenger. Bobbie is a 13 years old and weighs about 100 lbs and looks like a typical bright eyed student. In early September she started school. After that first day of school, the first thing she told me was that her back was really hurting her because she had an enormous amount of textbooks to carry back and forth. On top of that she stated that carrying her saxaphone aggravated her back as well.
I gave her mother two suggestions. #1. Get a rolling backpack with wheels. #2. Photocopy the pages out of the textbooks and just decrease the amount of books to bring home.Talk to Bobbie's teachers about lightening the load, maybe even buy a 2nd set of the most used textbooks for home. #3. Get an ergonomic BackPack that distributes the weight from the shoulders to the hips. Well, my first suggestion did not go over too well. Apparently it is not cool for a six-grader to be rolling around a back pack. Jeesh!!! Practically, Bobbie also mentioned that her school has many staircases that would make it difficult for her to lift her backpack during the day in between classes. Suggestion #2 Got an automatic head shake from Bobbie- she must be studying weeks ahead every night !
Individuals should carry no more than 10-15% of their body weight in their backpack. For example, for a child who weighs 100 lbs, this means they should carry 15 lbs or less. These days, you add in a lunch, textbooks, your pencil case and gym clothes--- you may well over be that amount. In the case of Bobbie textbooks caused her maximum load to go over the allowed amount.
A properly fitted BackPack enhances the body's natural ability to carry weight, reducing stress on the body up to 80% and lightening the effective load up to 50%.
Arc4life offers AirPacks Backpacks - these supportive backpacks have a great support system that is created by a hidden adjustable air chamber placed in the lower back which transfers the weight to the hips. The wide, foam-cushioned straps have buckles at the top and bottom to provide a two point adjustment. The Backpacks also allow for self- adjusting side to side to provide a better fit accross the shoulders. There are also side cinches to pull the weight of the backpack closer to to the persons center of gravity, therefore increasing balance and stability. The great thing about the AirPack BackPacks is that they come in three sizes:
Small: Ideal for elementary or middle school students (12" x 16 1/2" x 7"). Click Here
Medium: Ideal for middle school or high school students (11 1/2" x 17" x 8"). Click here
Large: Ideal for high school or college students (12 1/2" x 18" x 12"). Click here
As for Bobbie, her mother mentioned that she did indeed buy her daughter a rolling back pack last year, but that it was not "cool" enough for her to be seen with it at school. Her mother stated that she would order a specialized AirBack BackPack for Parvati. I made a few more suggestions for Parvati and her backpack ways:
Always use both shoulder straps.
Tighten the backpack straps so that the Backpack is close to the body as possible
Pack light as much as possible.Make the backpack does not weigh more than 10-15% of Parvati's body weight
Make use of the school lockers. There is no need to carry all of your textbooks all day in school.
Organize the backpack so that all the compartments are properly used
When bending forward, make sure you bend at the knees, especially with a heavy back pack
Learn back- strengthening exercise to prevent injury and strain.