Backpack Pain

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - 8:15am

Wearing a heavy backpack properly can prevent pain for students.

Overloaded backpacks are weighing down some students.

While doctors say there is no evidence of heavy backpacks causing permanent damage, they are concerned about the pain kids are enduring, especially the younger ones.

"There are studies that show that kids are carrying heavier weights than what we recommend are having more back pain issues, and they're showing up in our clinics and even our emergency rooms with complaints of back pain," says orthopedic surgeon Dr. Laurel Blakemore.

Doctors recommend students only carry up to 15 percent of their body weight.

Experts say it's important for the backpack's weight to be distributed evenly.

That means not putting al the weight on one shoulder and avoiding totes or messenger bags.

The bag should not fall more than four inches below the waist and the shoulder strap anchor points should be one to two inches below the top of the shoulders.

Dr. Blakemore says she likes the rolling backpacks with wheels, but most schools don't allow them because of safety reasons.

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