Back to school Health and Backpack Safety

ImageBack Pack Safety

Dr. James D. Miller  D.C.


The summer flew by.  It’s that time again, already. Every year starting at about the 3rd week of September, I start to notice an increase of kids coming into the practice for the same thing. Back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain caused by back packs. Some of this can be avoidable if you follow some simple tips. These simple tips are common on all the “Back Pack Safety” websites and seem to be universal.  So you can look them up or just use the ones I have provided below for my patients. I have decided to hang them on the walls of some of the treatment rooms for the Mother’s to take when they bring their kids in.  Some of the suggestions and recommendations below have been taken from The American Academy of Pediatrics—healthy, and OrthoInfo  AAOS (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons). Again, these tips seem to be exactly the same no matter which website you go to.  I have only added to it slightly by making a comment or two-but the premise is the same.


When Choosing a Back Pack 

Wide, padded shoulder straps—The narrow ones dig into the shoulder muscles and cause circulatory and nerve compression problems.

Two shoulder straps– for distributing the weight evenly.

Padded Back- A padded back will protect against the weighted down sharp edges of books pushing into the back.

Waist Strap– A waist strap will stabilize the heavy load and adds a weight distribution factor.

The actual weight of the empty back pack should not be heavy.

Rolling Backpack- If you can get them to do it, great. I have been trying to get my daughter to do this for years and was told that “it is simply not cool Dad”.

Avoiding Injury

Always use both shoulder straps-This, I see all the time. Slinging the back pack over one shoulder seems to be a popular “look”. Doing this and overloading the back pack is really the cause of most of the back, shoulder and neck pain.

Tighten the straps- Tightening the straps keeps the back pack and weight close to the body. The straps should hold the bottom of the back pack approximately 2 inches above the waist.

Don’t Overload it. (self explanatory) Don’t put tons of stuff in there. See the rule below.

Drop off books at locker when you can-There’s no need to carry several books around all day when you have already had that class. Go back and get them at the end of the day.

Bend your knees- When you bend down to pick your back pack off the floor. Use your legs to lift. Do not bend at the waist and round your back when lifting.



 Do not ignore your child’s back pain.

Talk to the school about lightening the load and allowing them time to stop off at their lockers to drop off books in order to lighten the load.

Bring your child to the Brookfield Family Chiropractic and have their spine checked to keep them healthy and well aligned.

Phone:  (203) 775 7102




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