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  • Writer's pictureRehabon Physical Therapy

Is Going Back to School Turning into Baggage for Your Child's Back?: Back to School Backpack Tips

Thank you for reading that tongue twister, now let's get back to the problem at hand..

As the school year begins, the frequency of backpack-related injuries continues to climb each year as kids get older and begin to get overloaded with homework and textbooks. School-aged children and teens under report instances of pain, and parents often dismiss complaints, citing “growing pains.” However, when the problem gets severe enough, school-aged children often come to physical therapy because of chronic back pain. The good news is most back pain is easily preventable by implementing the following tips:

(This is how you shouldn't carry your backpack)

  1. Load the backpack Evenly: Make sure the heaviest items are positioned closest to the center of the bag. It stabilizes their center of gravity and helps prevent slouching, tilting to one side, or falling over which can take a toll on your child's back.

  2. Pack as light as you can!: Start by laying out all the items you think you might need to pack. Only pack what you need.

  3. Physics Matters!: For proper support, the backpack should fit securely on both shoulders and should rest on the contour of the back. If it is hanging over the buttocks, it’s too low and can cause some postural issues.

  1. Wear Both Straps: Even though it may look or feel cool to some kids, wearing one strap puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders and can cause uneven posture which can cause issues in the future.

  2. Biomechanical Tips: As with lifting any sort of weighted object, it is best to lift with your legs. Teach your child to place their backpack on the ground behind them, bend at the knees, put their arms loosely through the straps with their hands holding on, and to stand up with the backpack, lifting with their legs.

(This is how you should carry your backpack)


Discomfort and soreness are a part of life. What is not normal is living with pain. If you are still experiencing that pain, it's time to talk to your physical therapist or primary care physician.

Try to stay away from narcotics, injections and knife happy surgeons as a primary option for your treatment. There are no magic bullets, but majority of pain symptoms can be resolved with conservative measures like exercises, manual therapy and pain management.

  • Zuhair Haque, Exercise Specialist at Rehabon Physical Therapy. Zuhair enjoys basketball and he cannot wait to start the DPT program at North Central College in 2023. Zuhair has an extensive experience for working for multiple physical therapy/rehab organizations.

  • Irfan Ibrahim is an Owner/Physical Therapist at Rehabon Physical Therapy, Downers Grove IL 60515. He enjoys sunshine and rainbows with his three children. Loves hiking, biking and golfing but he has accepted to live with his mediocre skills. Questions??!! Email him: follow him on Facebook

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