Thursday, September 28, 2017

Back to School?...Don't Go with Back Pain!

Back Pack Health and Safety Tips

It is that time of year again. Everyone should know be settled into the school year so now the dreaded homework and project assignments are being piled on. For those kids affected by the Methacton School District strike, they are playing catch-up on the missed work. A major cause of muscle strain and back problems in our youth is due to overloaded backpacks.  Homework assignments and projects lead students to stuff their school bags with heavy text books and folders. Over the course of a full school year this really wears on the spine and can lead to development of scoliosis and muscle injury.

The key to a healthy spine is to balance out the load the spine receives when lifting and carrying objects.

  1.  So first, adjust the straps on the backpack so that they sit securely on your shoulders and that the backpack does not sag too low and pull your spine backward.
  2. Avoid single arm carrying of the backpack as this will through you off balance
  3. If you must take home heavy books try and carry one or two in front of you so that the backpack is lighter and now you have counter weight in the front. Ideally, a backpack should weigh only 15% of the child’s weight.
  4. Finally, if at all possible leave those heavy books at home or in school. Take advantage of the online versions of the books. So if you can use a tablet in school, load the eBook on the tablet. The same goes for home, if you need to use the book in school and don’t have a tablet at school, then load the eBook on your home computer or tablet.

Following these tips will save you from nagging muscle pain and help prevent scoliosis, which is especially common in young females. Taking care of your spine at an early age will minimize the risk of injuries later on in life.

Stop in to PTW West Norriton for more information and consultation on how to keep that young spine healthy!

PTW’s Marc Schottle, DPT is the Clinical Supervisor at our West Norriton office. For an initial evaluation, call Marc at 215 630 0101 today!