Back to School Back Health

back care advice for children from cliffschiropractorsouthendIt’s back to school and back to backpacks! Many things can lead to back pain in children, such as playing sport or poor posture. But some kids have back pain because of what they’re lugging around in their backpacks everyday!

According to our Southend chiropractor, children should not carry more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their school bags.

Backpacks come in all sizes, colours, fabrics, and shapes and help kids of all ages express their own personal sense of style. However, it is important that the backpack is safe for them.

Here are some other great tips to ensure your child stays safe when carrying their backpack this school term:

Always ensure your child uses both shoulder straps and that they wear the backpack on their back rather than over one shoulder.

Pack the largest and heaviest objects first so that they are carried lower and closest to the body.

Fill available compartments so that the load is evenly distributed throughout the backpack and items do not shift when your child moves around.

Adjust the straps so that the backpack  fits snugly to your child’s body, holding the bottom of the backpack two inches above the waist and keeping the top just below the base of the skull.

Make sure your child lifts their backpack by using their leg muscles and keeping it close to their body, rather than bending over with extended arms.

If your child wears their back pack correctly, the weight will be evenly distributed across their body, and they will be less likely to experience shoulder and neck injuries than if they carry a one shoulder bag. And of course, when they’re used properly, they’re incredibly handy!

By being aware of the advice in this article, you can help to make a big difference to the health of your child’s spine!

Our team of chiropractors at Cliffs Chiropractor Southend are experienced in treating children of all ages. If you have any concerns about your child’s back or spine then our chiropractors are here to help you. You can call us on 01702 430 430 to make an appointment with one of our chiropractors.


Back to school: Encourage Good Back Health

back care advice for children from cliffs chiropractor southendFor many parents, September brings a sigh of relief as the kids go back to school and sanity levels can finally return to normal. But with another term comes another few months of worrying if your child is staying healthy beyond those school gates. While you can’t escape a few scraped knees here and there, you can encourage good spine health in your child and prevent their risk of developing future back problems.

Here our Southend chiropractor reveals four easy tips to ensure your child’s back-to-school is a healthy one:

1: Invest in a Good Back Pack!

Your child’s backpack should be light, snug and comfortable to wear with two wide padded shoulder straps and a waist strap. But remember a back pack is only as good as the way it is packed. Make sure your child unloads any unnecessary items every evening after school and carries the heaviest items at the bottom of the bag.

2: Encourage Good Health at Homework Time

You encourage good spine health in your child by ensuring he/ she uses a book stand while studying or reading. This will help to keep your child’s books at eye level and reduce the amount of strain on the shoulders and neck. And of course, there’s also the added bonus of creating extra desk space!

3: Warm Up For the New Term

If the typical British weather has kept your child away from many sports over the summer holidays, he/ she may need extra time warming up before they jump back into their school physical activities.

Good warm up routines should last for a minimum of 10-15 minutes and should include movements that simulate the sport about to be played.

4: Teach Good Posture

You may be able to remind your child not to slouch at home, but do your words resonate in the classroom? Instead of simply telling your child to sit up straight, educate them on the importance of good posture. Tell your child that maintaining the correct posture will reduce the amount of strain on his/ her neck shoulders and lower back and make him/ her more attentive in class!  The more your child understands the importance of good posture, the more likely they will be to practice it until it comes a natural way to sit. Encourage your child to sit with his/ her shoulders back and chin tucked in with a gentle “C curve” in the low back. You can check your child’s posture by seeing if his/ her ears, shoulders and hips follow a straight line.

Here’s to a term of A* back health!


Protect Your Child’s Back. Advice on Backpacks From A Leading Southend Chiropractor

back care advice for children from cliffs chiropractor southendAs a Certified Chiropractic Paediatric Practitioner, Arif, one of our experienced team of Southend chiropractors, regularly treats children and teenagers that are suffering from back conditions. While the causes of adult back pain significantly vary, back pain in children is often the result of heavy backpacks being worn incorrectly. And it’s ironic really; as backpacks worn the correct way are actually much safer than other types of bags.

Most backpacks include many compartments that help children carry their books and papers to school and back. Unlike shoulder bags, backpacks allow the strongest muscles in the body (the back and abdominal muscles) to support the weight that they’re carrying around. Children who wear their backpacks correctly allow the weight to be evenly distributed across their body; making neck and shoulder injuries far less likely.

But according to Arif, a leading chiropractor in Southend, children are risking strained muscles and joints if their backpacks are too heavy (more than 15% of their body weight) or they are carrying them in the wrong way.

So what is the wrong way to carry a back pack and is your child doing it?

If your child’s backpack is too heavy, the force of the weight will start to pull your child backwards. To compensate, your child is likely to bend forwards at the hips or arch their back. As a result, their spine will start to unnaturally compress, which can cause back, neck and shoulder pain.

If your child wears their backpack on one shoulder (which many children do), they may start to lean to one side to offset the additional weight. Again this can cause both upper and lower back pain as well as strain on the neck and shoulders.

Arif also warns that backpacks with tight, narrow straps may dig into the shoulders and have a negative impact on circulation and nerves. This can contribute to numbness, tingling and weakness in the hands and arms.

So the next time your child head off to school, make sure you’ve checked the following beforehand:

  1. Your child is wearing the backpack on both shoulders
  2. The straps are thick, soft and are not digging into the shoulder blades
  3. The backpack does not weight more than 15% of your child’s body weight.

Small changes can make a big difference to your child’s spinal health.

To book an appointment with our Arif or another member of our award winning team of chiropractors, contact Cliffs Chiropractor Southend on 01702 430430.