Protecting your child’s back from this year’s backpack
It’s that time of year again and back-to-school prep is all of the conversation. That means your child will be gearing up from a summer of fun to carrying a heavy book bag to school with all of their textbooks, notebooks, homeowner, and the extras.
This also leads many chiropractors to seeing parents of children with back problems because of overstuffed backpacks and pain from it. While it’s an exciting time of year for new subjects, new teachers, football games, and the kids getting older, it’s also that time of year when backpacks are heavy and kid’s backs are in danger. Take a look at how you can protect your child’s back from this year’s backpack.
How backpacks harm a child’s health
While you may be worried about packing a healthy lunch and keeping grades up, you should really be taking the time to focus on your child’s back health from lugging around new textbooks and even laptops. Backpacks are notoriously worn incorrectly and can damage children’s’ spines.
In fact, almost 80 million kids will end up suffering from pain from wearing their backpack incorrectly this year. This affects the spine, shoulders, posture, and more. Many kids like to wear the backpack on one shoulder or they overstuff the bag, making it not only a chore to carry, but damaging to vertebrae of the spine.
What often happens is that children, regardless of what parents intend, will wear their backpacks incorrectly because they are in a hurry, overwhelmed, or unaware of the damage the pack can cause. They could trigger subluxations or cause postural imbalances. Causing a misalignment to the spine’s vertebrae will actually put pressure on the nervous system and prevent communication within the body from the irritated nerves. Other symptoms occur when this happens and you may not realize the pain is all traced back to the backpack.
How you can prevent injury
There are really simple ways to avoid backpack injury but knowing is half the battle. It’s important to choose the right backpack to begin with, and then follow a few simple steps from there. You need to make sure you don’t select something too big for your child, nor should it be too small. A backpack must have two straps and it shouldn’t hang over four inches below your child’s waistline.
That way, you can ensure that your child is wearing the backpack properly and that it won’t overwhelm your child’s back. These days, you’ll see more and more children with a backpack on wheels, which is the ultimate best choice in backpacks, but you’ll want to check to see if it’s allowed with the school first.
Once you’ve selected the right backpack, it’s time to talk to your child about how to wear it properly. First and foremost, make sure your child wears both straps and doesn’t try to wear it on only one shoulder. Next, make sure he or she is wearing it at the proper tightness, because wearing it too loose or too tight can be damaging to the back. Often children will try to wear it loose on only one shoulder and it’s one of the main reasons that back pain begins from a backpack. Encourage your student to swap out their books between classes to avoid carrying too much and be sure to adjust the backpack as your child grows. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that you’re packing it properly, with the weight not to exceed 15% of your child’s body weight, and putting the back on by lifting the legs rather than the back.
Even if you follow backpack procedures perfectly, it’s important to have your child adjusted with the chiropractor on a regular basis. This allows his or her back to have a reduction in subluxations and pressure, and a chance to restore the communication throughout the body.
Be sure to follow backpack procedures this school year and to keep your children’s wellness as a top priority going into this new season of life.
How Chiropractic Can Eliminate Headaches
Including a Chiropractor in your Healthcare Provider line up isn’t just about back pain. And believe it or not, your headaches could be treated without the use of medication.
Pain Relievers are not Always Necessary
Sounds a little different than what we’ve been leading to believe right? Drink more water, eliminate certain foods, get more sleep – these are all important aspects as well. The part that comes next though, where you’re advised to take a pain reliever – that’s not entirely necessary.
Millions of people worldwide are affected by headaches, many of which are debilitating enough that people will miss school and work. They will miss their children’s sports games, miss anniversaries, and miss important milestone’s – which is why I believe so many will jump at the first chance they get to take over the counter or prescription headache medication.
Pills Don’t Have to be Your First Line of Defense
This doesn’t have to be your first line of defense when investigating headache or migraine relief. Whether your headaches are caused by tension or stress, hormones, environmental factors, or as a result of a physical issue or trauma – your Chiropractor can make a few simple adjustments and viola, reduced or even eliminate headaches.
How Do We Do It?
We have established that there are countless triggers for headaches. But how can a Chiropractor help eliminate them all?
Booking a visit with your Chiropractor is not just about the adjustments and instant relief. We look at every problem holistically, and will help you to identify environmental, physical, and emotional triggers. Once these are identified and changes are made, we get to work on the physiology of it all. There are nerves in your body that when interfered with, can be the root cause – or the final answer to all of your headache woe’s. A simple subluxation in the cervical spine can hinder the blood flow to your brain, which can either cause headaches or leave you more susceptible to headaches.
Subluxation of the spine can be caused by stress, the environment (toxins), or trauma. Consulting with your healthcare team and devising a plan of action to cancel out all possible causes will be the answer to a reduction in headache pain relievers.
Similarly, the tissue and bony structures surrounding your neck and the base of your head can be sensitive to irritation and can become dysfunctional. This is a common cause of head and neck pain and can be relieved with gentle, precise Chiropractic adjustments, and exercises to help correct your posture.
Living Headache Free is Possible
Imagine, you can be free of chronic headaches. You won’t have to worry about traveling with medications, losing sleep, or missing important life events. This reduction in stress alone will be a large piece of your health puzzle.
Taking care of your spine, nervous system, and muscle health is what we help you do. Our holistic approach to healing drug-free – is what will make all the difference in the world when it comes to how you feel every day. When you make a choice to include Chiropractic care into your health care regimen, you are making the decision to take your health back into your own hands.
5 Exercises to Strengthen Your Back
The most effective combination of tools to strengthen your back are cardiovascular and strength training exercises, in combination with chiropractic care. However, if you have a history of heart problems, this should be noted by your health team and special instruction should be followed when exercising.
However, if this is not the case, a reasonable amount of exercise that you enjoy is your best first step in strengthening your back.
Why is Back Strength so Important?
Your back and your core are the structures that hold your body in proper alignment so that it can function properly, and function well – like the support beams in your house. If there is a flaw in this support, the rest of the structure suffers.
Maintaining a strong back and core will allow your bones, muscles, nervous system and cardiovascular system to do what they need to do uninterrupted.
The importance of a strong foundation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to suddenly become an athlete (your choice entirely) but there are exercises that will gently increase your strength without over-exertion.
- Go for a walk. It doesn’t need to be a marathon – but it should be more than a leisurely stroll. Walking 3-7 days a week with good posture will strengthen your muscles, your cardiovascular system, and will promote proper digestion.
- Planks. This simple but effective exercise is great for your back and your core. Depending on your level of strength, you can do them anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. This particular exercise alone is great for your overall posture when done correctly.
- Lunges. These are great for your lower back, giving it a strength-based workout, along with stretching your muscles.
- Bridge stretch. These are low impact and great for your abdominal muscles and your glutes. The great thing about this movement is that you can go as slowly as you need to (which is the most effective way of doing this movement anyway).
- Reverse shoulder shrugs. This is perfect for your upper back and neck and will help to release tension while opening up your chest. This exercise can be done right at your desk.
Please remember that while exercising it is important to wear comfortable and breathable clothing, shoes that will support your level of activity, and do not bounce while stretching. This can actually tear your muscle fibers and cause your muscles to need time to heal – which is counteractive to what you are trying to achieve.
Ask Us – We Will Tailor Exercises to Your Specific Needs
These are just a few of several exercises your chiropractor may suggest, all of which are supporting your back and core. Without balanced muscle tone obtained through exercise, your posture will suffer and can result in muscle aches, joint related problems, headaches, digestive issues, and cardiovascular dysfunction.
We will show you the best exercises to help align your body’s joints, so you reduce the likelihood of experiencing pain and discomfort. Joint manipulation is only one aspect of your chiropractic care, and adjustments are best performed when they are done alongside other therapies, including exercise.
This Part is All on You
This important component to your recovery is in your hands and will hopefully increase your confidence in your ability to help heal your own body. Working in conjunction with your chiropractor will help you to meet your goals.
Better than any drug, exercise will improve your mobility and reduce pain. But please be patient with yourself, sometimes it can take months of regular repetitive motions for your body to adjust and feel better, but the long-term results of a stronger back and core will be worth it.
Dr. Peter Fraser
32 Brock Road North
TeL: 519 763 1200