Local chiropractors warn families of heavy backpacks

Published 08/21 2014 10:16AM

Updated 08/21 2014 10:20AM

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - If you’ve ever watched children walking to school, you’ve seen that some of them look like they’ve packed for the entire year, not just the school day. Carrying overloaded backpacks is not the exception today, but the rule and it can put some young backs in jeopardy.

A backpack can be a great help to school children, but it needs to be packed properly to avoid a lifetime of hurt, suggests Wyss Family Clinic of Chiropractic.

As the new school year approaches, parents and children planning their "back-to-school" lists are urged to keep backpack safety in mind.

“If too heavy or worn incorrectly, backpacks can strain muscles and joints and cause serious back pain,” says Dr. Skip Wyss, D.C., pediatric Chiropractor at Wyss Family Clinic of Chiropractic of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
“Parents take note: backpack weight is becoming an increasing problem, and studies show that heavy backpacks can lead to both back pain and poor posture.” In fact, backpack-related injuries resulted in 14,000 emergency room visits for children ages 5-18 in 2011, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Dr. Wyss and Wyss Family Clinic of Chiropractic advise everyone—especially the 79 million teens who carry backpacks to school to carry no more than ten to fifteen percent of their body weight in backpacks. Avoid back pain and back injury by following these suggestions:

• Select packs with heavily padded shoulder straps and lumbar support.

• Carry only what’s needed and get organized.
• Pack heavier items closest to the back.

• Pack items in compartments so the weight is evenly distributed.

• Use both shoulder straps to distribute weight evenly across the back unless it is a one-shoulder pack.

• Tighten the straps to keep the backpack close to the body. Make sure the backpack does not extend below the lower back.

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