In addition to the possibility of injury in the playground and on the sports field, the seemingly innocuous trip to and from school also presents its own postural challenges to our children.

According to an international study, daily backpack carrying is a frequent cause of discomfort for school children.

79.1% of children felt that their backpacks were too heavy

65.7% of children felt their backpack caused them fatigue

46.1% of children felt their backpack caused them back ache.

Although fashionable, many of the current bags children are using for school don’t allow for even weight distribution across the back.  What’s more, many children put pressue on their spine by carrying their bags well below their waistline/lower back.  Often a loaded school bag is heavier than the ideal which should be no more than 10% of your child’s body weight.

There have been links established between thoracic (middle back) pain in adolescents from postural changes associated with backpack use and participation in certain sports (18).  Furthermore, the thoracic (mid) to lumber (lower) regions of the spine can experience deteriorating posture as a person becomes fatigued from carrying loads, such as backpacks.  It can take less than 20 minutes of carrying a load for this fatigue to start (19).

These problems are all the more concerning when you consider that spinal issues during adolescence can impact on the correct development of your child’s spine as they grow into an adult.

Common posture problems


Courtesy of Chiropractor's Association of Australia -