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Spine health for back-to-school time

As your children head back to school, it’s important to check in on their health and wellbeing.

We’re all very aware of the impact that a sedentary lifestyle – including a desk job and frequent use of technology – can have on adults. But have you considered the impact daily activities like sitting in a classroom, carrying a heavy school bag, or excessive screen time can have on your kids?

There are many good reasons why you might take your kids to visit a chiropractor, and one of them is to ensure they are forming good postural habits and developing an awareness of spinal health that they can take with them to school. You won’t always be around to tell them to sit up straight!

Here are three common back-to-school concerns that you should have an eye on, and that your chiropractor can help you manage.

Carrying backpacks correctly

Your children might be carrying heavy backpacks to school, which can cause short term back pain if not done properly. Understanding how to pack and carry a backpack in a spine safe way is super important. Things to look out for here are:

  • Pack heavier items at the back of the bag, closest to the spine. This helps to make sure the weight is not dragging on their shoulders and back. It’s reccommended to keep the overall weight of the backpack to 10-15% of your child’s bodyweight (Triano 2012).

  • Adjust straps to fit correctly and make sure your child uses any chest or waist straps included on the bag (hint: if you’re shopping for a new backpack, be sure to choose a lightweight bag with these supportive features!) (Triano 2012).

  • Make sure your child carries the bag with two straps on for even distribution of weight (‘Back to School’ 2022).

Developing good desk posture

Kids spend many hours working at a desk during the school day, so good posture and an ergonomic setup is important. Learning good postural habits and correcting bad habits while young is a fantastic way to help kids thrive. Some things to think about include:

  • You may have limited control over the furniture used in your school, but to the best of your ability, ensure your child has appropriate seating and desk to help keep their spine healthy. This may involve talking to the school to see what’s in place and how they can help.

  • Posture has a huge effect on spinal health while working at a desk. Teach your child good posture, including sitting with feet flat on the floor with shoulders back and relaxed (‘Back to School’ 2022).

Managing screentime appropriately

As we all know, excessive screentime can be damaging in many ways. Too much time spent on phones, tablets or computers can contribute to neck and back pain. It can also limit the time kids spend outside exercising and being active. Tips for addressing screentime as your child returns to school include:

  • During school, some screentime may be unavoidable. So, to balance that out, try reducing recreational screen time where possible.

  • When using technology devices is unavoidable – such as when completing schoolwork – make sure your child maintains neutral posture and they are not hunching.

  • Encourage kids to go outside, play and exercise! Getting enough physical activity is vital to maintaining health and wellbeing. Aim for your kids to get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day (Physical Activity and Exercise Guidelines for All Australians 2021).

Ensuring kids develop good spinal health and proper posture is an important part of setting them up for a lifetime of health and wellbeing. An appointment with your chiropractor is a safe and proactive way to help kids safeguard their own health. So, if you’re keen to work with your kids on good spinal health and want to know where to start or book in for a check-up, give our friendly team a call or book an appointment online today.


Spine-Health, J Triano, Backpacks and Back Pain in Children, 2012

Spine-Health, J Triano, Tips to Prevent Back Pain from Kids' Backpacks, 2012

Australian Chiropractors Association, Back to School, 2022

Department of Health and Aged Care, Physical Activity and Exercise Guidelines for All Australians, 2021


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