Sign up

School Can be a Pain in the Neck!

Over the past couple of years there has been an enormous increase in the number of patient visits of young school age children to the chiropractic physicians office. The culprit - overloaded backpacks.


This has received a lot of attention from parents, teachers and school administrators. The typical symptoms are neck, shoulder, mid-back and low-back pain. This results from the extra stress placed on the spine and shoulders from the heavy loads that the children carry causing muscle strain and fatigue. Over time these symptoms can lead to more permanent problems like slouching, poor posture, and degeneration of the spine and supporting structures.

There are a number of recommendations that can be followed to reduce injuries.

  • Students should be encouraged to use their lockers throughout the day, rather than carrying all their books with them.
  • Use both of the backstraps rather than slinging it over one shoulder.
  • Carry no more than 10-15% of your body weight in the backpack.

Along with prevention, children should be encouraged to remain physically active because stronger muscles can do more work before they fatigue. There is a growing epidemic of obesity among our children according to the Canadian College of Pediatricians. To help combat this, the computer and television needs to be turned off a lot more often and children encouraged to play outdoors more in the summer and get involved in some of the recreation centres in the winter. Of course it wouldn't hurt the parent to get involved in a little of this activity as well. Along with exercise, proper nutrition and good sleep is a must.

Cutting back on the fast foods, sugary snacks and pop consumption will all aid in helping to keep children healthy. Sleep times will vary according to age and activity level but this is when the body rejuvenates itself. A chiropractor can do a complete evaluation and recommend a rehabilitative and preventative program.Habits that we develop when we are young, whether good or bad, will affect us for the rest of our lives. Make the best choices for a healthy body.


Chris is a chiropractor whose special interests are in sports rehabilitation and ergonomics. He graduated in 1990 and has a family practice on the west side of the city. He can be reached at 686-3060.

Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2022 Calgary’s Child