August 2016 – Children and Spinal Health
CHEO: Tips on what to look for in a backpack
- The backpack should be fit to the person, not the person to the backpack. When choosing a backpack, it should not be oversized ‘to carry more’. The shoulder straps should fit comfortably and not dig in to the shoulders, allowing the arms to move freely; the bottom of the pack should rest in the contour of the lower back; and the pack should “sit” evenly in the middle of the back, not “sag down” toward the buttocks.
- When choosing a backpack, look for one made of lightweight materials, like canvas, to reduce the weight, and with many storage compartments to enable better storage and the ability to balance the weight of the contents throughout the entire pack. Place larger flat items closest to the back.
- Padded back — to reduce pressure and prevent the pack’s contents from digging into the back.
- Padded, contoured, shoulder and chest straps — to help reduce pressure and balance the weight. Backpacks should have thickly padded (2 inches wide), adjustable shoulder straps and an extra hip strap. The shoulder straps should be adjusted so the bottom of the pack sits two inches above the waist; the backpack should be worn using both straps and not carried over one shoulder. This can cause malalignment of the spine and muscle fatigue. It’s also very important that any long straps and buckles be tied or tucked in so as to avoid an entanglement hazard.
- Waist belt or hip strap (Optional) — to distribute some of the load to the pelvis. The waist belt sends the weight of the pack down through the legs, which are more used to carrying weight; and it will maintain the central position keeping the pack closer to the back.
- Compression straps — on the sides or bottom of the backpack to help compress the contents of the backpack and stabilize the articles.
- Reflective material — for visibility to drivers at night.
How to play Pokémon Go injury-free
If you or someone you love is playing Pokémon Go a lot, these tips can help prevent text neck and the problems it can cause:
- Hold your phone at a higher angle.
The higher you can hold it while playing, the less strain you’re putting on your neck.
- Take breaks.
After you catch a Pokémon, take a short break to put the phone down and arch your neck and shoulders back. If you’re at a Pokéstop or Gym, take a break every 15 to 20 minutes.
- Stretch your neck.
Tuck your chin down, then slowly raise it upward. Then swivel your head over one shoulder, then the other.
In addition to text neck, Pokémon Go players are in danger of tripping and falling by walking while looking their phones. Don’t get so wrapped up in the game that you’re not watching where you’re going, especially on busy streets or sidewalks. Finally, seriously hard-core players may be putting themselves at risk for shin splints if they’re walking much more than usual.