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The Backpack Dilemma (Inset)

Written by Sandra Simpson, D.C., FICPA   
Wednesday, 01 September 2004 00:00

A recent study reveals that 55 percent of students are carrying backpacks weighing more than 15 percent of their weight.

Children carrying a heavy load in their backpacks often suffer from spinal compression, improper alignment and bad posture as a result of arching or leaning to balance the weight.

“Something as simple as wearing a backpack that is overloaded may not only cause temporary back pain for children, but could pose serious long-term symptoms and chronic injury,” DeLuca said. “Young children’s bodies are still developing and the vessel they carry their books and school supplies in everyday shouldn’t be the cause of severe back problems in adulthood.”

A recently conducted study revealed that one-third of the children who reported experiencing back pain, missed school, visited a doctor or completely abstained from any physical activity.

“Chiropractors are experts in spinal biomechanics and backpack safety techniques. As prevention specialists, chiropractors work to educate the community about the proper use of backpacks. In addition, doctors of chiropractic offer spinal checkups for youngsters. These checkups include a thorough postural assessment, evaluation for vertebral subluxations, and specific recommendations for injury prevention. If you’re a parent, don’t ignore this potential threat to your child’s health. Schedule a chiropractic evaluation for your youngster today.”

Of 1,122 backpack users, 74.4% were classified as having back pain, validated by significantly poorer general health,more limited physical functioning, and more bodily pain.

As compared with no or low use of backpacks at school, heavy use (odds ratio, 1.98; P < 0.0001) was independently associated with back pain.

Female gender and larger body mass index also were significantly associated with back pain

The Association of Backpack Use and Back Pain in Adolescents. Spine 2003(May 1);28(9):922–930

Pathways Issue 3 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #03.

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