The Spinal Column: Can you save a spine with a back pack?

By Dr. Jim Schaffer

Ahhh… School is just about here. In my office I am hearing all sorts of emotional reactions. Me? How am I feeling? I am feeling determined. I am determined that this year we will help families become aware of the fact that back packs can cause damage to your child’s spine. I recently read that more than 10,000 children nationally suffer from back pack related injuries!

I know that I am a chiropractor, so I am really focused on things having to do with the spine and nervous system, but as a parent, I find that a startling number.

That is one reason why, this week, I am going to put out some very basic, simple steps parents and children need to take to be sure the Back Pack does not destroy the Spine Rack.

One point I want to make clear: back pack safety is not just for the little ones. The older kids are probably worse offenders. They have more to carry. They like to look cool. They are tougher to follow the safety rules. But their spines are no less important than our elementary kids. So please be diligent.

Let’s talk first about choosing the right back pack.

I am not a fan of messenger bags, or purses for carrying all the supplies needed for a day at school. Though they look really cool and trendy, just imagine the uneven stress pulling on one side of their body causing mucsles in the neck and shoulders to strain, and perhaps pulling bones out of their assigned position in that area. Your child may end up leaning to one side constantly to offset the extra weight as well. This may cause injury to the lower and upper back.


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