Back (pack) basics for back to school: avoid chronic neck & back pain



Parents have breathed a sigh of relief this past month as their kids finally went back to “normal” school. It’s been a while since kids have had to lug around a heavy bag or backpack with all their school “gear.”

Chronic upper back pain and neck pain are the results of carrying heavy backpacks and shoulder bags daily. Your kid’s backpack can easily weigh upwards of 20 pounds with all their school gear.

Heavy bags strain the upper back and supportive muscles down the spine. The heavy load places pressure on the nerves that run from the neck, across the shoulders, and down the front of the arms and can even cause nerve damage.

The first step to a healthier back-to-school is choosing the right bag for your child.


Look for these features:

  • A pack that is the right size for you child
  • A pack with multiple pockets and compartments helps to distribute the weight more evenly
  • A chest strap that clips across the chest will pull the pack forward, helping to reduce weight off the shoulders
  • Shoulder straps that are wide and well-padded to relieve pressure on the shoulders

Most importantly, have your child only carry the things they need for that day.

Finally, ask your kid to check in with their body. If they are experiencing numbness or tingling in their hands and arms, or feel like they are living with a stiff back or neck, seek professional help. With early intervention, a chiropractor can help them avoid a lifetime of chronic back, shoulder, and neck pain.


By Dr. Bryen A. Bell, a Board-Certified Chiropractic Physician with over 20 years of professional experience. Contact Dr. Bell at True Potential Chiropractic family care facility. Call 503-574-4872 or visit