Prevent your children’s backpack pain with the three S’s

Prevent your children’s backpack pain with the three S’s

You may be accustomed to your friends, families, and coworkers complaining about back pain, but what do you do when your child is the one complaining? While this scenario may seem alarming to parents, it is not all that uncommon. The origin of children’s back pain may vary, but medical professionals have noticed a common culprit: backpacks.

In an article titled “Packing Pain: Study Reveals New Insights About Backpack Pain” published by SpineUniverse in 2019, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission revealed over 14,000 children must seek professional treatment for back pain caused by backpacks.

With some schools already in full swing and others getting ready to welcome their students for the fall semester, knowing how to alleviate your child’s backpack pain is something parents should note. Here are some backpack guidelines that parents can follow to keep their kids feeling their best.


We’ve all seen those 80’s cult classics with the cool kid rolling through high school hallways on a skateboard with his backpack slung over one shoulder. Unfortunately for him, wearing only one strap of a backpack can have painful consequences. 

To prevent backpack pain, both shoulder straps should be worn at all times. Another way to avoid backpack pain is to look specifically for backpacks with chest and hip straps. 

Dr. Porterfield from Porterfield Family Chiropractic noted that it is not only the quantity of straps parents should care about, but alsothe quality. Wider, padded straps provide additional comfort and protection.

"If the straps are not padded, the fabric can dig into the shoulders of students, cut through shirts, and lacerate the skin," Dr. Porterfield said.


Many backpacks on the market today have plenty of compartments consumers can use to keep their contents organized. However, these compartments are not only good for arranging items in the backpack, but also for distributing the weight of those items more evenly across the wearer’s back.

"Try to place heavier items in the bottom of the backpack,” Dr. Porterfield. “By distributing weight evenly, students will remove most of the weight from the shoulders and distribute this across the entire body. This will also make it easier to maintain a more natural, neutral posture. Ideally, the backpack should come to rest in the middle of the back."

Distributing weight within backpacks will make backpacks both comfortable and functional.


While it is easy to assume that bigger backpacks are better backpacks, that is not necessarily the case. When people purchase large backpacks, they tend to overload them with items they may not otherwise pack. 

It is important to limit the contents of a backpack to the essentials. Parents should encourage their children to take only what they need along with them to prevent unnecessary strain.

When selecting a backpack, it is best to find one that suits your size. Picking backpacks that are too big for your frame or overloaded with stuff can lead to muscle strain, headaches, and discomfort in your neck, shoulders, and lower back.

To learn more about how to prevent back pain, check out tips here, a 2016 study, and more information here.

If you are already suffering from back pain and are seeking relief, book an appointment at Porterfield Family Chiropractic at