This week we have entered September and that means back to school in one form or another for the kids of the world. Some kids are doing homeschool this year but many are returning back to their local schools. This means the return of the dreaded BACKPACK!

Most young children and teenagers use a backpack to carry their books and other supplies with them throughout the day at school. While older students usually have lockers they can use, they can still run into trouble when using a backpack incorrectly or filled with too much weight. This can cause back pain and muscle strains leading to a miserable experience.

Luckily there are some easy tips we can use to insure a pain-free backpack life.

  1. Leaning forward- Often without even realizing it we can lean forward when wearing a backpack: especially while we are waiting for activities like getting lunch or checking into the school. Students who carry heavy backpacks often slouch over which causes the shoulders and upper back to be strained. Less weight and your posture should improve preventing this upper-body pain.
  2. One shoulder- Do you wear your backpack over one shoulder? This may look cool but it can cause shoulder with lower and upper back pain. Wearing a backpack over both shoulders helps distribute the weight evenly causing less pain.
  3. Poor posture- It may seem natural for teenagers to slouch around school but bad posture can be a major problem for our muscle health. Wearing a backpack can exacerbate this by causing ”the unnatural compression of the spine from leaning backward and to the sides while wearing a too-heavy backpack”. The worse our posture is the more pain we have which then causes more bad posture.
  4. Nerves- Do you feel light-headed at school? Wearing our backpacks too tightly can have an effect on circulation and nerves. “Backpacks with very tight, narrow straps that aren’t adequately padded can dig into the shoulders, putting pressure on nerves and interfering with circulation.” This causes us to feel “tingling, numbness and weakness in the shoulders and even down into the arms and hands.”
  5. Careful selection- Picking out the perfect backpack can be a challenge especially when there are so many different styles to chose from. We recommend looking for a backpack with wide straps that you can tighten or loosen. You also want to get a waist belt if possible because it helps to distribute the backpack weight over more than just your shoulders and lower back. Also the more pockets in the backpack the more the weight will be distributed evenly.
  6. Lighten up- “Doctors and physical therapists recommend people carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in packs” If using lockers is not an option for excessive backpack weight perhaps speaking with a teacher can help come up with a better solution. If the student has an e-reader maybe that can be used in place of the heavy books? There are lots of ways to make the backpack lighter.
  7. Do those sit-ups- The stronger our core muscles are the more they will be able to withstand the strains of a heavy backpack. Crunches, pilates, yoga can be fun for kids and increase their overall posture and strength.

Sometimes even with our best efforts we still end up with muscle pain. This is where the Zim’s line of pain relief products comes in. Whether it be a Zim’s Max Freeze Cooling product or the Zim’s Max Heat liquid the special formulas help provide deep penetrating pain relief so we can relax and recover.

Are you or your family members returning back to school? What kind of backpack have you selected? What tips do you have to using your backpack for a pain free school-day? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section. Good luck at school!