News Local

Backpacks can pose health risk for kids: Chiropractor

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

VALERIE MACDONALD/NORTHUMBERLAND TODAY Using this skeleton, Dr. Stephanie Johnston of Hubbel and Johnston Chiropractic illustrates the lower -and mid-back area students can hurt if wearing a back pack incorrectly or if it is too heavy

VALERIE MACDONALD/NORTHUMBERLAND TODAY Using this skeleton, Dr. Stephanie Johnston of Hubbel and Johnston Chiropractic illustrates the lower -and mid-back area students can hurt if wearing a back pack incorrectly or if it is too heavy

COBOURG -- With kids just getting back to school, a local chiropractic office is advising that back packs can create back issues, headaches and other problems if they are too heavy and/or not worn properly.

"Even nerve damage (can occur)," states a newsletter from Hubbel and Johnston Chiropractic in Cobourg.

It is important for students to know how to properly "choose, load, lift and wear them," it states. "Carrying a heavy load that is unevenly or improperly distributed can result in poor posture and even distort the spinal column, throwing it out of alignment."

Too heavy a back pack places stress on the mid- and-lower back. Don't have it any heavier than 10 to 15% of the child's body weight, plus keep the heaviest items closest to the body when it is being worn, it also advises.

The suggestion for putting a back pack on is to start with it on a flat surface at waist height, putting it on one shoulder at a time, and then adjusting the straps.

Though geared to young students, the advice is generally good for anyone using backpacks. Among other suggestions:
 

  • The size should be proportionate to the young person;
  • Choose a light weight backpack; and
  • Make sure it is not too tight and has padded, wide and adjustable shoulder straps as well as one around the hips or waist, with a padded back.


vmacdonald@postmedia.com

twitter.com/NT_vmacdonald