Heavy burden: Overloaded backpacks can cause spinal issues

By  | 

CENTRAL TEXAS (KWTX) As students are gearing up for the school year doctors recommend parents check the load their children are carrying on their back because heavy backpacks can have an impact on their spinal health.

Doctors say students should only carry 10 percent of their body weight on their backpacks to lower the risk of spinal injury.

Chairmen of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor Scott and White Temple Dr. James Albers says its important students do not carry a heavy load because it could impact their core and spine that are still continuing to grow.

He says they can find pain and stain all up and down the spine.

“It can be kind of down in the lower back area, it can be in the kind of middle back are or even in the neck especially if you are carrying a heavy backpack you’re leaning forward you could have more neck pain,” Albers said.

However, pain and muscle strains are more commonly found in the mid to lower back area.

He also recommends parents buy a backpack with padded straps, a front clip and several pockets.

Albers says the padded straps will help aid tension in the shoulders.
The pockets will help distribute the weight and the front clip will improve posture.

He also says student should not tighten the strap too much when wearing the backpack and he says you should always put your heavy textbooks closer to you spine.

Albers says there are also preventative measures students and parents can take to ensure good spinal health.

He says it’s important for children to get enough exercise, sleep and to maintain a healthy diet so your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.

Albers also recommends sun exposure because vitamin D emitted from sun helps with bone development.

Lastly, Albers said it’s important for parents to talk to their children about any stress they may have.