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23 August 2011

Backpacks can mean backaches for back-to-schoolers

Millions of children returning to school this fall will struggle under the weight of an overstuffed backpack, putting themselves at risk of injury, according to Dr. Joshua Hyman, director of orthopedic surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

"Parents should inspect their child's backpack from time to time. They often carry much more than they should with extra shoes, toys, electronic devices and other unnecessary items," says Dr. Hyman, who is also associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

"A backpack shouldn't weigh more than 15 percent of the child's weight, or about 7 pounds for a child who weighs 50 pounds. If it is textbooks that are making the bag too heavy, parents should speak with the teacher -- sometimes these books can be left at school," adds Dr. Hyman.

To prevent injury, children should also wear a backpack correctly over both shoulders to spread the weight evenly. Alternatively, they should consider a wheeled backpack.
If the child experiences persistent pain, parents should consult with their pediatrician, who may recommend physical therapy to strengthen the back muscles. Some indicators of trouble include when the child's posture changes while wearing the backpack, when they struggle to put it on, or any pain, tingling or red marks.

Source: NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

About Dr Kevin Lau Dr Kevin Lau DC is the founder of Health In Your Hands, a series of tools for Scoliosis prevention and treatment. The set includes his book Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment, a companion Scoliosis Exercises for Prevention and Correction DVD and the innovative new iPhone application ScolioTrack. Dr Kevin Lau D.C. is a graduate in Doctor of Chiropractic from RMIT University in Melbourne Australia and Masters in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health in USA. In 2006 I was awarded the "Best Health-care Provider Awards" by the largest Newspaper publication in Singapore on October 18 2006 as well as being interviewed on Primetime Channel News Asia as well as other TV and Radio. For more information on Dr Kevin Lau, watch his interviews or get a free sneak peek of his book, go to:

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