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Backpacks and Back Pain

Written By Coastal Integrative Health on September 20, 2016

Parents! Check your children's backpack before they end up with long-lasting pain! 

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - August 02, 2016 - According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, students bearing excessive weight in their backpacks can develop long-lasting back pain, among a multitude of serious health conditions including neck pain, tingling and numbness of the arms and shoulders, headaches, muscle spasms and postural decline. As the back-to-school season quickly approaches, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP), the leading voice of the chiropractic profession, calls attention to the safety concerns associated with carrying heavy backpacks and validates the significant impact of postural habits on overall health.

“Over time, the heavy weight of a backpack can cause an unnatural alignment of the spine as students are forced to offset the pressure by arching the back or bending forward at the hips,” states Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president, F4CP, who notes that the weight of a backpack should be no more than five to 10 percent of an individual's body weight. She continues, “To help combat backpack-related postural stress, students should consider bags that offer multiple compartments and tightened, padded straps worn on both shoulders to help appropriately position and distribute weight.”

In addition to the added stress that backpacks place on the spine, students who are prone to slouching, rounding the shoulders, or protruding the head forward may experience further pain from sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time. Doctors of chiropractic (DCs) - who receive a minimum of seven years of higher level education - specialize in spinal health and wellness and are specifically trained to provide hands-on care that helps to naturally align and strengthen the spine, as well as counsel patients about nutrition, exercise and proper body positioning tips.

Addressing postural habits is especially important while children and adolescents are still growing, as they are more inclined to implement strong body mechanics at an early age, essentially avoiding the impact of improper alignment later on in life. The slogan to remember for good posture is practice makes permanent, so practice good posture,” shares Dr. McAllister. “To prevent backpack-related pain or discomfort, I recommend consulting a doctor of chiropractic to learn more about how to reduce the risk of injury and back pain, and to improve overall spinal configuration, muscle support and health.”

For additional information regarding the importance of backpack safety and the value of chiropractic care, please view the F4CP's public service announcement here.

About Foundation for Chiropractic Progress    

A not-for-profit organization, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) informs and educates the general public about the value of chiropractic care. Visit or call 866-901-F4CP (3427). Social media: FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterestYouTube.

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Posted In: Back Pain Chiropractic Spine Health Backpacks Childrens Health Childrens Health