As we are getting closer to thanksgiving and the end of the year kids are coming home with backpacks that are heavier and heavier due to final exams and preparation for the end of the semester. Dr. Bob Arsenault, Massachusetts physician, recently commented that, “Many documented cases are showing that backpacks are causing posture issues and long-term damage to the spine, especially in younger children whose spines are more vulnerable.”

The most common result we see of heavy backpacks is mid-back and neck pain. As a parent you should look for these symptoms about half way through the year. Although not nearly as susceptible to permanent damage, College students are another candidate for this problem because from the beginning of the year they overload themselves with the amount of material they carry around trying to save time and money.

Many studies suggest that you should not carry more than 10% of your body weight. Dr. Arsenault observes that extra weight causes the center of gravity to change, and to counteract this students will lean forward. Leaning forward results in inconsistencies in the spinal column. The absolute worst thing you can do for yourself is simply fling the backpack over one shoulder, this imbalances the strain put on the body and can result in serious damage. If you or a loved one is concerned about backpack injuries contact, Dr Dirk Woodmansee, for a free consultation to discuss how you can fix the problem and keep it from happening again.