Backpacks blamed for back problems - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Backpacks blamed for back problems


Children around the state are heading back to school and for some children having big backpacks, could mean big problems.

David Chandler brought his 9-year-old daughter, Jalen, and 8-year-old son, Jacob, to Shoreline Family Chiropractic in West Haven to get their backpacks fitted properly for school.

"I was concerned, so I came here to find out exactly what the bookbag should contain and how heavy it should be," Chandler said.

Dr. Matthew Paterna, who is the president of the Connecticut Chiropractic Council, said back-to-school means back issues for young children. 

"What we want to see is that the bag is sitting up above the waistline, it's not dropping too far down," Paterna said. "So this particular bag right now, is already overweight and we only have 10 pounds in here."

Paterna said, "when you put the backpack on the body, the heaviest item in the bag, should be the one that is closest to the spine."

"Beause what will happen if we keep it out here, the further out it goes, it'll pull them backwards," Paterna said.

Paterna said the spine can easily shift out of position by putting pressure on the nerves, which leads to other health problems.

Another good rule of thumb is the backpack should weigh no more than 10 to 15 percent of your child's body weight.

"So if your child weighs 100 pounds we shouldn't have a bag that weighs more than 10-15 pounds," Paterna said.

Paterna said little things, like bending your knees to lift the bag, can be helpful.

"One of the things we'd recommend is if we have a heavy book take the heaviest book that's in your bag, and hold it," Paterna said. "Avoid doing that movement, just gently do one arm, and then the other. "

And if your child does complain of back pain or other symptoms you may want to look into whether chiropractic care is right for your family.

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