How to Pick a Backpack For Your Child

Australian children will give a collective groan about going back to school today, but now is the perfect time to check their school bags won’t cause pain or injury. “A heavy backpack increases the risk of poor posture and possible injury,” said Dr Patricia Thomas, Osteopathy Australia Board President and Sydney osteopath.

RELATED: 7 Tips For A Smoother School Run

Back pain is common in Australian children, particularly during adolescence. According to Australian rheumatologists, some causes of back pain in young people include poor posture, inappropriate forms of exercise and carrying heavy schoolbags.

“Heavy backpacks are a real problem. Children will often compensate for the weight with a forward head posture which puts stress on the whole body, especially the lower back and neck,” she said.

A forward head positioning can cause pain, poor posture and potential permanent damage to growing spines. Backpack weight can be kept lower by carrying only the essential books for the day and using a locker at school. Students can also partner with a friend to share a textbook during class, reducing some of the load.

“Some textbooks have soft copies available, greatly reducing the need to carry the heavy textbook to and from school,” said Dr Thomas. “If your child uses a laptop or tablet at school, they might not need to carry textbooks at all.”

In addition to keeping the weight low, it is critical that children have a good quality backpack and wear it properly.

Top tips when purchasing and wearing a backpack:

  • Make sure the backpack is the right size – it should be no wider than the child’s chest
  • Comfort and fit should be first priority, not looks
  • Choose a backpack that has wide shoulder straps with padding
  • Always use both shoulder straps. Wearing a pack on one shoulder curves the spine unnaturally, putting stress on the whole body
  • Don’t wear the backpack below the small of the back
  • Use the waist straps to help evenly distribute the weight of the pack

Image via backpacksreviewed.com

6 Ways Osteopathy Can Treat Headaches

According to the World Health Organisation the most common type of headache originates from tension, muscle stiffness or joint strain in the neck and upper thoracic region. Other causes include might include:

  • Eye strain
  • Sinus congestion
  • Whiplash injury
  • Stress
  • Poor posture
  • Jaw imbalance and teeth grinding
  • Infection
  • Allergies and food intolerances

RELATED: Muscle Up On The Source Of Your Headaches

Poor posture can cause a range problems including back pain, spinal problems, poor circulation, joint degeneration and rounded shoulders. Osteopaths and other health professionals are witnessing a huge surge in the cases of the “iPhone neck”. Our smart devices aren’t so smart when it comes to health, and all that hunching is causing dire effects on our posture.

Osteopathy Australia reminds that there are certain ways your osteopath can help to release the pain and advise you on how to avoid the headaches in the future.

Your osteopath can help to:

  1. improve your general mobility
  2. improve the mobility of your ribs and thoracic and cervical spine
  3. reduce muscular tension, nerve compression and inflammation
  4. advise on posture, exercise and stretching to help prevent a recurrence of symptoms
  5. offer guidance on diet and preventing dehydration
  6. advise on improving the ergonomics of your home or workplace

You should also seek professional advice if the headache is accompanied by fever, nausea or vomiting, bleeding or fluid draining from the nose or ears, dizziness, blurred vision or speech, numbness, tingling or paralysis.

If you experience headaches regularly, keeping a headache diary can help identify these triggers and ultimately help them avoid them. A headache diary allows you to record important details about your headaches, such as symptoms, frequency and other. Your Osteopath will help you identify triggers such as certain foods, sleep habits, exercise and posture.

Image via apchiropractic.com