Backpacks could cause back problems if you’re not careful

Augusta, GA (WJBF) – School is starting this week for some Georgia counties. Doctors are warning that heavy backpacks can cause back problems for students.

Less is more when it comes to the way kids like to pack their backpacks for the first day of school. A few parents we spoke with didn’t think the weight of a backpack now, could lead to big problems later. Carrying too much weight in a backpack or wearing it the wrong way can lead to pain and strain.

“Anytime a child or anyone is wearing something kinda heavy on their back for a prolonged period of time, if it’s not worn properly it can cause injury or pain or discomfort,” said Kellie Collins, a Physical Therapist at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

Physical therapist, Kellie Collins, says anybody who wears a backpack can be affected, but her main concern is kids from 5th grade through high school.

“As the books get heavier the school requirements get a little more, they’re carrying more things to and from school,”  said Kellie Collins, a Physical Therapist at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

“When you’re walking with it you book bag kind of gets hard on your shoulder and it kind of makes it hurt a little bit,” said Matao Gonzalez, who is going to the sixth grade.

After talking with a few parents, some say they never really thought about backpacks causing back problems until now while sharing advice on what they would do to prevent it.

“They would probably need to have rolling book bags just because of the books that’s in their bags when they have to carry them from class to class, they’ll probably be a whole lot better for them,” Lakita Brooks, Richmond County parent.

“Leave the unnecessary things that they wont need at home that day at home,” Patti Youngblood, Columbia County parent.

The American Occupational Therapy site recommends:

  • Packing the heavier items closer to the back.
  • Practice putting on the backpack by bending and lifting in the knees.
  • Adjust both shoulder straps to prevent any muscle straining.

Students also expressed how they felt to side effects like these..

“Kinda nervous… because when you grow up you don’t want your back to hurt a lot,” said Matao Gonzalez, who is going to the sixth grade.

Additional tips:

  • Arrange books and materials so they won’t slide around in the backpack.
  • Check what your child carries to school and brings home. Makes sure the items are necessary for the day’s activities.
  • Consider using a book bag on wheels if your child’s school allows it.
  • Distribute weight evenly by using both straps.
  • Wearing a pack slung over one shoulder can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain.

For more information click here.

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