Saturday, August 23, 2008

Back to School Groans May Link to Misuse of Back Packs

FFH Note: All those groans of the children as they limp into the house after school may not all be signs of upcoming homework. Instead, some of the groans may be attributed to their back packs. Read on..

24-7 - Back pain is pervasive among American Adults, but a new disturbing trend is emerging. Young Children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor according to the American Chiropractic Association. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, the use of book bags or back carries resulted in 6,500 injuries in the year 2000 alone.

"In my own practice, I have noticed a marked increase in the number of young children who are complaining about back, neck, and shoulder pain," said Dr. James R. Fedich of Village Family Chiropractic, "The first question I ask these patients is, 'Do you carry a backpack to school? Almost always, the answer is yes."

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. Fedich, 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 a 176-pound man. Of those children carrying heavy backpacks to school, 60 percent had experienced back pain as a result.

The results of these studies are especially important as more and more school districts remove lockers from the premises, forcing students to carry their books with them all day long.

What can you do?
-Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight
-The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline
-A backpack with individualized compartments helps position contents most effectively
-Bigger is not better. More room in the bag, more things will be put in it.
-Urge your child to wear both straps.
-Wide, padded straps are very important to distribute the weight
-Shoulder straps should be adjustable
-If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your children's teachers
-Although roller packs have become popular, they are now not recommended.

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