Sep 03

Back to School Without Back Pain

Gorey-Family-Chiropractic-Clinic-300x199-1As we return to school this week, what school bag has you or your child chosen? The correct choice can encourage good spinal health and minimise strain on your child’s developing spine.

It may be easy to overlook the significance of some of the necessary choices such as school bags and footwear and how this can affect a child’s developing body and spine not only in terms of an aching back from a heavy school bag but sometimes more seriously affecting their concentration, learning and overall brain function.

How does that work? Well, a school bag that is too heavy, too big or too small and/or carried incorrectly can cause postural changes that place irritation throughout the spine and nervous system (which includes the brain and spinal cord) causing symptoms including back pain in children.


Leaning to the side to balance a shoulder bag creates unnatural curves in the spine which potentially causes childhood & adolescent back pain

Leaning forward to manage the excess weight and size places pressure on still developing spinal bones (vertebrae). Repeatedly carrying a bag on one shoulder only causes a sideways shift in the body leading to scoliosis (curvature of the spine) which as a condition can cause difficulty in breathing and can in some cases cause chronic back pain.

Forward head posture can also occur, placing strain on the nerves supplying the arms, chest and lungs and also on the brain stem, which controls a large number of bodily and cognitive functions.

Researchers have found that the weight carried in back packs is often 30 to 40% of a child’s body weight despite recommendations that schoolbags should not exceed 10-15%. In a recent study it was found that children carrying bags weighing more than 10% of their body weight have been found to have poorer lung function.


•    Make sure that the back pain has wide padded adjustable straps.
•    A bag with individualised compartments helps distribute the weight of the contents more effectively.
•    Urge your child to carry the bag on both shoulders.
•    Make sure the backpack weighs no more than 10% of the weight of your child when full.
•    The back pack should be carried on both shoulders fitted snugly against the back rather than hanging off it. This means it shouldn’t hang more than 4 inches below the waistline of your child whilst on.

•    Encourage your child to adopt and upright posture rather than a rounded shoulder one and urge caution removing and putting on backpacks. Keep the trunk of your body stable and avoid excessive twisting to avoid back strain and back pain.

 Warning signs for parents to look out for:

  • Changes in posture when wearing the backpack, leaning forward etc,
  • Struggling when putting on or taking off the backpack;
  • Complaining of back, neck or shoulder pain (please don’t ignore complaints of back pain in your children. It is NOT just growing pains and should be taken seriously and assessed properly)
  • Neurological signs such as tingling and numbness in the arms and hands, or headaches.
  • Red marks on the shoulders

Keeping an eye on your child’s school bag and watching out for early warning signs of developing back pain or back problems can help your child to have a successful and happy year this year and every year in school.

If you have any concerns about your child’s bag, back pain or any unexplained pains that your child is complaining about, please free to consult one of our specialist Chiropractic Association of Ireland team for a thorough professional evaluation and assessment.

Our Gorey Family Chiropractic Team are covered by VHI, Aviva, Laya and other Irish Insurers as well as under the GAA scheme. For an assessment please contact 053 94 83338 or alternatively email an enquiry to

Aug 28

Back to School with Gorey Family Chiropractic Clinic


Make Walking To School a Habit!

To coincide with National Walk to School Week and most importantly the return of primary and secondary children to School this week in Ireland the United Chiropractic Association of which Gorey Family Chiropractic Clinic are members are encouraging families to improve their health and well-being and introduce more walking into the daily lifestyle of their children.

Back to School with Gorey Family Chiropractic Clinic

The Facts

Did you know that the number of children traveling to school by car has doubled over the past 20 years[1] and it is not only harmful to the environment but also to your pocket with the annual average costs for a school run topping €505 [2].

Exercise is an effective and important tool for ensuring the future health of our children. Obesity is now the second largest cause of death[3] and in a recent test carried out on children, it was seen on average that children who walked to and from school used more calories than a 2 hour PE lesson.[4] 9 out of 10 teachers believe that walking to school makes children brighter, more alert and ready for the first class of the day.

Walking is a terrific form of exercise that strengthens your body and helps to position the spine in the natural shape it was designed for – being upright. Regular walking helps to build up core strength and allows you to breathe better and as a result reduces fatigue and minimises other side-effects associated with bad posture.

As Chiropractors we are strongly committed to keeping future generations moving, and are trained professionals who realise the difference that simple, healthy lifestyle modifications such as walking to school or work can have on an individual’s health.

Here are some of our top tips and reasons to make walking to school become a habit!

  • Walking with your child is a great time to spend quality time with them and talk about things you don’t always have time for. It will also give you opportunity to meet other parents and children
  • If your child walks without you then ensure they are familiar with the route and have road safety awareness. (The U.K charity, Living Streets, warns that parents who try to keep their children safe by driving them to school are depriving them of the opportunity to learn road sense, putting them at greater risk when they do start traveling to school independently).
  • Check out if your school has a ‘walking bus’ where groups of children are chaperoned by a few adults on the journey to and from school with pick up and drop off points rather like a bus service.
  • Make sure your child’s backpack is not too heavy, that it is worn on both shoulders and that the weight is distributed evenly as this can cause back ache and postural problems.
  • Ensure your child’s footwear is comfortable and appropriate for walking.
  • If you do live quite far from school why not try and park further away and walk the difference – 10 to 15 minutes exercise can help your child keep in shape and keep extra pounds off.
  • Think of the environment and the money you could be saving as well as avoiding stress from the traffic and parking.

Last year over in the U.K over one million children in over 4000 schools ditched the school run as part of Walk to School Week, let’s make the numbers even greater this year!

Gorey Family Chiropractic Clinic News

If you as a parent this September are concerned about your child’s

  • Posture
  • Complaints concerning Low Back or Neck Pain
  • Headaches
  • Spinal Alignment / Curvature of the spine

We offer a special promotional rates of assessment for Children where we can offer appropriate advice and full evaluation of conditions whether big or small to start the school year off in a healthy way.

Call 053 94 83338 for further information and in the meantime ….where feasible

Make Walking to Your School a Healthy habit!


[1]Dept for Road Transport

[2]Figure is based on approved mileage rates from Revenue Commissioners

[3]World Health Organisation 2001

[4]Study by Roger L Mackett of the Centre for Transport Studies, University College London