The first day of school always hosts a new excitement for families. There are new supplies, new clothes, new teachers and new friends but hopefully I've caught you before you have purchased your new back pack. Is the one you've previously provided the best for your child's spine?
Do your kids load up their backpack with books, lunches, shoes, water bottles and binders until they can hardly close the zipper and it looks like they will topple over with the weight? Not only does the weight put undue stresses on the spine but then wearing it inappropriately adds further repetitive trauma. This combined mechanical challenge can cause neck and back pain, headaches, arm pain and set the stage for a life time of postural pain and problems.
As a parent what can you do to keep your child's spine healthy?
Step 1. Know the details of what is appropriate as far as back pack weight, wearing and design. I've included link from the Canadian Chiropractic Association that lists the specific details. At the end of this article I've also posted a short back pack video demo and the importance of wellness chiropractic for kids. http://www.chiropracticcanada.ca/en-us/backs-and-health/back-care-tips/on-the-go/pack-it-light.aspx
Step 2. Know where to purchase a good back pack. The back packs we've purchased at Mountain Equipment Co-op are more expensive than your typical department store brand but they are worth it. You pay for quality, ours have lasted 10 years. The adjustable straps allows the back pack to grow with the kids and the material is lightweight and durable. Make sure your pack has a thick pelvic/waist strap to take the weight! Here is a link to the design featured above. http://www.mec.ca/product/5027-508/deuter-compact-exp-12/?f=10+50587
Step 3. Communicate within your child's values to ensure compliance. Share the information so they understand why choosing a good back pack is important and give them an active role in choosing the one you buy. Make it a game to go into the store and find the packs with all the particulars and allow them to choose the color and comfort within those parameters. Children are more likely to wear it, if they choose it. For years, I was preaching the "keep your shoulders back for good health" posture sermon to my sons but it seemed to fall upon deaf ears. When I added the phrase of how broad, strong and tall they looked this way, it ignited an internal motivation and that sermon found a peaceful ending :)
Dr. Dena Churchill- International Speaker, Author, Health Innovator & Wellness Astrologer.