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Vitality Chiropractic

Vitality Chiropractic

(919) 761-5158

610 Dr. Calvin Jones Hwy. Suite 104, Wake Forest

Backpacks 101

Chiropractors agree that backpack usage can be detrimental to your child’s spinal health. While the actual backpack may be fine, improper loading and excessive weight can lead to future health issues.


Child's Weight

Backpack Weight

60 Pounds

<6 Pounds

70 Pounds

7 Pounds

80 Pounds

8 Pounds

90 Pounds

9 Pounds

100 Pounds

10 Pounds

110 Pounds

11 Pounds

120 Pounds

12 Pounds

130 Pounds

13 Pounds

140 Pounds

14 Pounds

150 Pounds

15 Pounds

160 Pounds

16 Pounds

How heavy is too heavy?

The consensus among health professionals is that the backpack should weigh no more than 10% of your child’s body weight. A backpack overloaded weighing 15% or more of their body weight can lead to severe back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as headaches. Repetitive injury can cause damage to the spine as well as aggravate pre-existing conditions.

The scale shows ideal backpack weights based on the child’s weight.

Selecting the Correct Backpack

 The first step in selecting your backpack will be to select it based on function and not what Scooby Doo character comes on it. Make sure that the backpack has a comfortable fit, with wide, padded, adjustable straps. A good option is to select a backpack with a hip strap, lumbar pillow or both for the most benefits. The hip strap will ensure that a portion of the load will be carried on the hips talking pressure off the spine. A model with a lumbar pillow similarly would provide the necessary support to the lumbar spine and hips, balancing the load properly. A great option is to check out a local camping or hiking outfitter.  The associates are specially trained in fitting packs to body size, body weight, and intended use.

Lessening the Load

You should weigh the backpack every Sunday and ensure the weight is at or under the 10% mark. If the backpack is overweight, work with the child to determine what items are essential and what can be left at home or at school in the locker.

Correct Backpack Loading

The heaviest items should be loaded first and to the back of the backpack, with lighter items progressively positioned further from the body. This ensures that the weight is evenly distributed through the straps, and avoids kid   compromising the posture of the wearer. Have a “strap chat” with your child. Make sure they understand the importance of proper strap length and how changing strap length to look “cool” can have negative consequences for their health and development.

Roller Bags

Roller bags might seem like a better solution, but don’t be fooled. An empty roller bag may weigh up to 80% more than a  standard backpack. In addition, the user then is required to awkwardly lift the bag in order to go up and down stairs, often several times a day in older grades. This repetitive, one-sided motion can lead to a host of issues, including neck pain, shoulder pain, and postural changes.

So before your little one runs out for a fun filled week of school, follow this handy checklist to ensure a healthy and happy spine for years to come.


Click Here for a convenient printout for hanging on your Refrigerator.

Symptoms of improper Backpack

Loading & Carrying

·         Aching shoulders, neck, or back

·         Pain, tingling or numbness in the neck, arms or hands

·         Weakened muscles

·         Headaches

·         Hunched Posture

·         Leaning to one side, backward or forward

·         Red marks and creases on the shoulders

·         Struggling to put on or take off the backpack

Refrigerator Backpack Checklist

First Sunday

€        Empty Backpack

€        Weigh Backpack

€        Check Strap Adjustments

€        Have the Strap Chat

Second Sunday

€        Empty Backpack

Third Sunday

€        Empty Backpack

€        Weigh Backpack

€        Check Strap Adjustments

€        Have the Strap Chat

Fourth Sunday

€        Empty Backpack

© 2005, Generations

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Call Us for an Appointment

(919) 761-5158

Mon:  8:00am - 12:00pm, 2:30pm - 6:00pm
Tue:   8:00am - 12:00pm, 2:30pm - 5:00pm
Wed:   8:00am - 12:00pm, 2:30pm - 6:00pm
Thu:  7:00am - 12:00pm, 2:30pm - 5:00pm
Fri:    8:00am - 1:00pm
Sat:   Closed
Sun:  Closed

610 Dr. Calvin Jones Hwy
Suite 104
Wake Forest, NC, 27587

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