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Posted on 08-07-2014

We hope everyone is getting excited to head back to school! One question we get asked frequently is can backpacks cause spinal issues or back pain in children? The answer: YES!

According to the American Academy of Orthopedics, a child should carry a backpack that is no more than 10-15% of that child's body weight. A 50 pound child should carry no more than 7.5 pounds, a 130 pound child, no more than 19.5 and a 150 pound child no more than 22.5. Yet many children carry up to 40 pounds on their backs to school each day which is the cause of many back, shoulder, and neck injuries.

A vertebral subluxation is a misalignment of vertebra with the one below it and the one above it, causing the openings through which the spinal nerves pass through to be narrowed. This places pressure on the delicate spinal nerves and spinal cord and causes interference to nerve impulses between the brain and the body. Left uncorrected, these vertebral subluxations can cause less than optimal function of the body and other health problems. One of three ways subluxation to the spine occurs is physical trauma.

Whether he or she is aware of it or not, a 100 pound child carrying a 30 pound backpack to school five days a week is causing repated micro-traumas to their spine whether they have pain or not. This brings up another critical point. Vertebral subluxation is not necessarily accompanied by pain, therefore it is essential for your child to be checked by a chiropractor on a regular basis to find and correct any misalignment.

Other helpful hints that may help:

1) Limit backpack contents to only necessities

2) Distribute weight of contents evenly and wear both straps

3) Select proper backpack based on the size of the child of choose one with many compartments (for more even distribution) or a backpack that rolls on wheels

4) Pick up the backpack properly, bending at the knee, and using both hands before placing it on his or her back.

For the months of August and September, Simmons Family Chiropractic is offering complimentary backpack screenings to all students, so be sure to call us at 304-925-5003 to schedule.

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Dr. Simmons is a lifesaver!! As a nurse I'm on my feet a lot and the pain in my back and hips was starting to interfere with my job. After a few visits with Dr. Simmons the pain and tightness in my back and hips was totally diminished and I can work a shift plus some and be totally pain free. She is also a delightful person! I look forward to my regular visits with her!

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Charleston, WV

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