OC Sports & Rehab

Summer is coming to a close and our kids will be heading back to school soon. Here are a few tips to conquer what has become a big concern: the heavy school backpack.

First of all, let’s hope the kids are putting those books to good use and not just carrying them around unopened, collecting dust bunnies! If they do have to carry the books around, let’s look at it from the positive side. Carrying a backpack can be a great exercise. Across our society we see and hear about our youth getting less and less exercise…less P.E. and outdoor play and more time spent on the computer, playing video games, and watching TV. The SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) states that the body responds to the demands that are put on it. Provide resistance and the body will develop the muscles and strategies to move it. In this instance, the resistance is the backpack. While they may be big and heavy, backpacks can provide a bit of exercise for our children after hours of sitting in class.

Here are some additional tips for your children for handling that heavy backpack:

  1. Only carry the books you need.
  2. Perform some squats, backbends or other stretches before carrying your bag.
  3. Use both shoulder straps and the waist strap if the pack has one.
  4. Tighten the straps so the pack sits tightly against the back.
  5. If the backpack seems too big or heavy, take two books out and carry them under your arm. This will help counterbalance the weight.
  6. If you are walking long distances take breaks and put the pack down.
  7. Don’t run with your backpack on.

If your kids are experiencing back pain due to heavy backpacks, contact one of our Physical Therapists at our Lake Forest Physical TherapyFoothill Ranch Physical Therapy, or Mission Viejo Physical Therapy locations.