For more information on prevention and wellness, or to find a doctor chiropractic near you, visit ACA's web-site at www.acatoday.org/patients.

 

 

                                                WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 

  1. Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 10% of his/her body weight.  A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward to support the weight on the back, rather than the shoulders.
  2. The backpack should never hang more than 4 inches below the waistline.  A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  3. A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively.
  4. Make sure that pointy/bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child's back.
  5. Bigger is not necessarily better.  The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry- and the heavier the backpack will be.
  6. Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps.  Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  7. The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack to fit to your child's body.  Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle, causing spinal misalignment and pain.
  8. If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child's teacher.  Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE CAN HELP

If your or your child experiences any pain or discomfort resulting from backpack use, call your doctor of chiropractic.  Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children.  In addition, doctors of chiropractic can also prescribe exercises designed to help children develop strong muscles, along with instruction in good nutrition, posture and sleeping habits.

This new back pain trend among youngsters isn't surprising when you consider the disproportionate amounts of weight they carry in their backpacks-often slung over just one shoulder.  According to Dr. Bautch, a recent study conducted in Italy found that the average child carries a backpack that would be the equivalent of a 39-pound burden for the average adult man, or a 29-pound load for the average adult woman.  Of those children in the study who carried heavy backpacks to school, 60 percent had experienced back pain as a result.

 Back pain is pervasive among American adults, but a new and disturbing  trend is emerging.  Young children are suffering from back pain much earlier than pervious generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor, according to American Chiropractic Association (ACA).  In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that backpack-related injuries sent more than 7,000 people to the emergency room in 2001 alone.

 AVOID PAIN FROM BACKPACK USE

PATIENT INFORMATION FROM THE AMERICAN CHIROPRACTIC ASSOCIATION

   Mann Chiropractic   Clinic