The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that “3,300 children aged 5 to 14 were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to book bags”. Dr. Russell Brokstein, DC discusses how to prevent your child/children from injuring their spines with their backpacks. Repetitive postural strains your child experiences today can have a dramatic effect on the health of their spine for many years to come. Early arthritis, disc degeneration, as well as pain and dysfunction can come as a result of what your kids do now.
The majority of times people come into our Freehold Chiropractic office with pain and they don’t know what was the cause. They either tell me that they woke up with the pain, they bent over to pick up something they dropped on the floor or something like I just got up from my chair and couldn’t move. So what was the straw that broke your back?
Many times there isn’t an accident, trauma or other event that is THE cause. One has to think of every little thing from the time you were born that accumulates stress into your body. When you were born the doctor pulled on your
head and neck to deliver you. Learning to walk you probably fell a couple thousand times. Do you have brother and sisters? If so, did you ever fight, push each other over? What do you think the effects of sitting at desks at schools or carrying heavy backpacks can have on your neck and back? Do you play sports and experience injuries? Sitting at a desk using a computer all day puts pressure on the neck, shoulders and back. Did you know there is a new condition called “text neck”? Think of texting on your phone with your head bent forward and down looking at that phone. Have you ever had a fender bender? Just a 3 MPH bumper hit is enough to cause a whiplash injury. Do you sleep on your stomach? If you sleep on your side or back do you use proper support with a pillow? When you lift things do you always bend with your knees using proper form? How about when you are exercising are you lifting the correct ways? If you are a woman and wear high heels, do you know the imbalances it causes throughout your legs and spine? Everybody wears shoes that aren’t properly fitted for them which causes foot pronation, which when walking like this is like driving a car with misaligned tires.
So, there is no straw that broke your back! It’s the accumulative effects of everything you have done since you were born that has built up until your body cant take it anymore. Imagine never brushing your teeth or going to the dentist until you have pain or rotting teeth, driving your cars for years before getting oil, lube, filter or wheels aligned and breaks adjusted OR never having your air conditioner or heater checked until they break down. Instead you know it makes sense to do things to maintain your car, your teeth and appliances. Your spine is the most important part of your body as it protects your nervous system which controls all functions of your body. Doesn’t it make sense to maintain it? It deserves the best care to maintain and prevent problems. So don’t wait for the straw that broke your back! Chiropractors are the only doctors that help prevent and maintain your body and health! When was your last adjustment?
Summer is winding down and in some parts of the country kids have already gone back to school and in other parts they are getting ready for the start of school. Getting new school supplies and equipment is well under way! A major thing to consider is the weight of your children’s backpacks. It’s important to get a backpack evaluations. Too many kids experience back pain due to the wrong type of backpack and the way things are put in the backpack.
Too much weight in a backpack can cause back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain. Guidelines state a backpack shouldn’t be more than 10 to 15% of the child’s weight. Studies show kids with back pain develop chronic conditions through their adult life. This is why it’s important to have backpack evaluations. It is a simple step to stop and prevent pain early.
The journal Applied Ergonomics recently published research about the prevalence of back, neck, and shoulder pain in 586 schoolchildren aged 12-14 years carrying on average about 6lbs in their backpacks. One of the concerns of the study were if gender affected the outcomes. Variables measured were the children’s weight, height, BMI, and the weight of backpacks. Also documented were they type of bad they used and how the children carried their bags: over one shoulder, over both shoulders, or grasping it by their hand.
The majority of kids (59.6%) reported some type of neck, back, or shoulder pain. More than a third of children (35.3%) reported neck pain, more than a quarter of kids (26.2%) had low-back pain, and 33% of children had shoulder pain.
Results from the study show neck pain was experienced more by children who carried their backpacks for more than 20 minutes or their bags were heavier. Low back pain was more in those using a backpack versus those using a briefcase or satchel. There is only a slight increase in risk of pain by the children carrying their bag by their hand or over one shoulder.
The most significant finding of the study was gender being an independent factor predicting musculoskeletal symptoms in schoolchildren. Girls experienced neck pain, back pain and shoulder pain twice as much as the boys regardless of the other variables. Other studies also show girls have a higher risk of musculoskeletal problems from use of schoolbags. The guidelines for backpack safety should be modified based on gender and used for backpack evaluations.
Backpack evaluations can help your children in preventing neck, shoulder and back problems. Chiropractors are trained in ergonomic safety including carrying of schoolbags. Chiropractic is the safe and effective way to reduce and prevent children from having problems. As a Freehold NJ Chiropractor, I educate my patients and their children on how to carry their schoolbag, proper posture, exercise to strengthen their spine and most importantly chiropractic adjustments to correct the subluxations. To find out more about Dr. Russell Brokstein and Hometown Family Wellness Center: click here