A local Chiropractor shares how to improve a child’s overall health with the right backpack

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes and are an excellent tool for students to carry their school work to and from school. But backpacks can also cause strain on a child’s muscles and joints if the backpack is too heavy.  

A heavy backpack can impact a person’s overall health because your body starts to overcompensate by leaning into that shoulder, supporting the weight, said Dr. Chris Murphy, the Clinical Director at NewEdge Family Chiropractic. 

“Once in a while, it’s not going to be a big issue, but day after day, year after year, it is going to start creating interferences in that nervous system, and then the child’s energy levels are going to be affected. Even the child’s lungs or heart, anything in that area that is connected to those organs,” said Dr. Murphy. 

Dr. Murphy said, “research shows that up to 80% of your immune system is controlled and influenced by your central nervous system.” He said there are ways to reduce stress on the nervous system and improve your overall health. 

Three Stressors to Improve Health

  • Emotional: Family, work, friends, current events, etc. It’s a good idea to find your support system, limit screen time, and, if you need help, reach out to a licensed professional. 
  • Chemical: Foods we put into our bodies and the skincare or cleaning chemicals we use. According to Dr. Murphy, focusing on whole foods and staying away from processed foods and fast food is a great place to start. 
  • Physical: A past accident or even getting up after sitting for eight hours straight. Dr. Murphy said that moving and being aware of your body and stretching or visiting a chiropractor can help correct interferences.

Dr. Murphy said that any stress on the central nervous system could impact those feel-good hormones, which is why it’s so vital for parents to make sure their children have the proper fitting backpacks. 

Dr. Murphy’s Healthy Backpack Tips:

  • Make sure your children are wearing their backpacks with both straps.
  • Make sure the backpack’s weight is distributed to the mid part of the back. Make sure the weight is not too high or too low. If the weight is not centered, it can cause issues in the neck and shoulders or the lumbar spine in the lower back. 
  • Find a backpack with lumbar support with added padding and a built-in waist belt. 
  • Do not let your child carry more than 10% to 15% of their body weight. (KidsHealth said, for example, “a child who weighs 80 pounds shouldn’t carry a backpack that weighs more than eight to 16 pounds.”

KidsHealth also suggests buying a lightweight backpack and encouraging children to only carry what is necessary, utilize a locker, and set their backpack down if they are standing for an extended period of time. 

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Another physical stressor that affects everyone is sitting in a chair for too long.

“If your head is slouched forward, it puts a huge amount of stress on your spin. So most people don’t realize that sitting on a daily basis puts about 400 pounds of pressure on your spin. Now, imagine that 400 pounds of pressure day in and day out, maybe for eight hours at a time. It starts to break down your nervous system; it starts to put pressure on the other nerves. It can affect nerves in your lower back, the upper back, and the neck, which is also common among kids. I call it the ‘text neck’ [hunched looking at the screen],” said Dr. Murphy.Locations

215188168 4479045408796895 7079111435780704233 NIf you are interested in learning more about NewEdge Family Chiropractic, visit their website, www.NewEdgeFamilyChiropractic.com

“Chiropractors see where interferences in the spine and nervous system through X-rays and correct areas that need improvement,” said Dr. Murphy. 

NewEdge Family Chiropractic has three locations: Kennewick, Pasco and Mattawa. Call 509-737-9355 for more information.