How To Ease Backpack Back Strain For Kids

How To Ease Backpack Back Strain For Kids hover background

Aug 03

How To Ease Backpack Back Strain For Kids

‘Tis the season for backpack back strain to begin setting in for your child. Back to school means using their muscles in ways that their bodies have long forgotten over summer break. Homework, textbooks and school supplies can all weigh heavy on your child’s shoulders, and back, this fall season.

The American Physical Therapy Association recommends that a child’s backpack weigh no more than 15-20% of your child’s total body weight. The American Chiropractic Association puts this figure at no more than 5-10%. This is because of the short term, and possibly, long term damage that can be done to your child’s back if they are carrying too much weight in their backpack, or not carrying it in the proper way.

As a parent, what can you look for and what can you do to make sure your child can get through the school year backpack back strain free?

Backpacks and Back Pain: What Can Happen To Your Child’s Back?

Uneven weight distribution in backpacks, too much weight or not carrying the backpack properly, can all cause problems for your child’s back. Problems can be minor and temporary or can cause injury or other back issues down the road. Improper use of backpacks can cause muscle strain in the back or can cause problems with the shoulders, spine, rib cage or your child’s balance.

Issues that can arise from improper backpack usage are:

  • Interference with the natural curvature of back and spine
  • Muscle strain and/or spasm
  • Back pain
  • Hunched shoulders
  • Irritation to spine and/or rib cage
  • Loss of balance
  • Overcompensation of other muscles in the body

Proper backpack usage can help keep your child backpack back strain free this school year. Once the school year is in full swing, check in with your child to see if they are experiencing any back pain and make adjustments based on the recommendations below.

Tips For Preventing Backpack Back Strain

  • Don’t wear the backpack over one shoulder
  • Select a backpack with 2” wide padded shoulder straps
  • Distribute weight evenly in the backpack (heavier items should go in first)
  • Keep maximum weight in backpack no more than 10-15% of child’s weight
  • Look for backpacks with additional support such as waist straps
  • Backpacks on rollers are even better

In addition to following the tips above, talk to your child’s teacher about their homework load and the possibility of going digital where possible to help reduce the weight of their workload.

If your child is experiencing back pain or backpack back strain, contact us for an evaluation before their condition worsens or becomes unbearable. Our two convenient locations, one in Queen Creek and one in Phoenix are open Monday – Friday to assist you and your family.


Queen Creek Location
21321 E. Ocotillo Rd., Suite 122
Queen Creek, AZ 85142
Ph: 480.987.1870
F: 480.987.9289

3201 W. Peoria Ave., Suite D800
Phoenix, AZ 85029
Ph: 602.866.2231
F: 602.866.2261