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Backpacks and Back Pain

As we send our children out the door for school, make sure their backpacks are the right fit. Otherwise, they may suffer back pain at an early age.

Dr. James L. West, spine specialist, recommends that students not carry more than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight on their backs daily. The best option is a rolling backpack, but that’s not always a trendy option for teenagers.

A few other adjustments, according to Dr. West, can also make the pack more comfortable:

  • Tighten shoulder straps so the weight rests comfortably on the lower back;
  • Clip sternum and waist straps together to distribute the weight off the shoulders;
  • Ask teachers if there are extra copies of heavy books that can be kept at home so your child doesn’t have to lug it back and forth each day;
  • If the child leans forward while carrying the backpack, it is too heavy.

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