Researchers at University of Michigan say up to 60 percent of kids will experience back pain before they reach age 18, mainly due to heavy backpacks.
It might be the way most students carry their bags, usually on just one shoulder, that causes pain, but even if you distribute the weight on both shoulders, it could be how much you're carrying.
The average student carries about 12 lbs. on their back; although it's probably a little more considering how thick books are these days. By the end of the day, you've probably picked up and dropped off your bag 10 times, and at the end of the school year, that's the equivalent of about six mid-size cars.
"Backpacks have become students' lockers if we look at the volume and weight of what kids are asked to bring to and from home, it's substantial and can take a toll," Mark Brett, physical therapist and Director of Sparrow Hospital Rehabilitation.
Mark says backpacks should only weigh five to 15 percent of your body weight. Students should also carry it less often. While waiting for the buss or class to start, put it down. There are also bags on wheels that are especially helpful if you walk to class. And even though the messenger bag is the newest fad, it's highly suggested to carry one with two, thick, well-padded straps.
But if pain is recurring, and causing numbness in the neck or arms, see your doctor for some relaxing tips.
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Some studies have shown that as many as 30 percent to 50 percent of 15- to 16-year-olds suffer from back pain, which may be caused by the improper use of backpacks. But there are steps you can take to help your child avoid back pain and other problems associated with improperly used backpacks.
What Should Your Child Do?
(Kids Health for Parents Web site)