More and more, we’re seeing our children develop poor posture at younger and younger ages. While there may be many contributing factors to this epidemic (such as technology developing, cellphones, computers, etc.), we can be certain that the weight of their school bags- as well as the way they carry their school bags- will influence their posture greatly! For the topic of this blog, we’ve decided to consult with professionals, to gain their insight and advice. We consulted with Jarryd Carter, a registered Biokineticist in George practicing at Carter Biokinetics, as well as Dr. Sinead Schoeman, a reputable Chiropractor in George practicing at Eden Health. Let’s see what their professional opinions on the matter are.
How to carry your school bag:
“When carrying a school bag it’s very important ensure you put the straps over both shoulders and is higher up on your back, allowing the weight of the bag to more evenly distributed and centralized.”
“Kids should be carrying their school bags on both shoulders at all times with the straps short enough so that the bag fits snugly to try to get it as close to their center of gravity as possible. Alternatively, they can carry their bags in both arms in front of them, once again as close to the body as possible.
School bags should be packed with the heaviest items close to the body and the lighter items further away.”
Issues that can come from carrying a school bag incorrectly:
“Never carry a bag over only one shoulder as this can lead to muscular and skeletal overcompensation, this will affect your posture negatively and may even lead to conditions such as scoliosis (skew spine) over time. If you are carrying your bag too low down on your back it may also lead to postural abnormalities such as kyphosis (convex curved upper back) and lordosis (concave curved lower back).”
“Heavy bags and bags carried incorrectly could lead to many conditions, some of which are low back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain and neck pain and headaches (due to forward head posture). Scoliosis can be aggravated and sometimes caused (functional) by wearing a school bag on one shoulder.”
Prevention is always better than treatment:
“Carrying school bags places large strain on many muscular systems of the body, in particular the back. In order to ensure
the minimal strain on your back, it is important to keep the so-called “core” muscles strong and that in part means making sure your stabilizing muscles like your abdominal and gluteus muscles are activated and strong.”
“Abdominal exercises can include exercises such as the plank, bicycle, crunches, etc and for gluteus muscles, exercises like clams, side leg raises, squats, etc. (For more specific and specialized assistance contact your nearest Biokineticist)”
The best kind of school bag for my kids:
“The quality of the school bag is less of a contributing factor than the factors mentioned above, however should straps break or the bottom of your bag sag, they will lead to certain compensations posturally as mentioned earlier, so investing in a strong bag that has good longevity to save you money and medical bills later on, will certainly be of benefit.”
“Should one splurge on a more expensive school bag? Definitely if it is to be worn on the back. Parents are advised to look for wide shoulder straps, good support and an ergonomic design.”