Its back to school time and many parents are asking themselves: How is my kid going to carry all of those school books? I also have an image in my mind of the child having to lean forward to try and counterbalance the weight of the heavy back pack.
Are you sending your child off to the first day of school with a brand new backpack tossed over his or her shoulder? Although backpacks have become as common as pencils & paper in schools across the nation, you may want to think twice before your child leaves for school each morning. While carrying a backpack may seem harmless, it can cause some health problems, including back and neck problems that may or may not be painful. Such problems may have drastic long-term implications if the results of these poor habits are left uncorrected.
Check The Numbers
New research reveals an alarming danger associated with improper childhood backpack use. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, of the 6,512 children treated in hospital emergency rooms last year for injuries related to shouldering backpacks, 54% involved children ages 5 to 14. Carrying a backpack can cause not only acute injury, but also long term damage. For example, carrying 12 pounds in a backpack and lifting it 10 times per day equals 120 pounds lifted per day. That is equivalent to 21,600 pounds lifted in a school year (nearly 11 tons) or the equivalent of six full size automobiles!
However, you don't need to be a scientist to understand the effects of backpacks on children. Visit any school and watch youths as they struggle to walk while bent sideways under the weight of an overloaded backpack that is carried on one shoulder. You will quickly realize the potential danger of this common school necessity.
How exactly would carrying a backpack affect a child’s spine? Carrying a heavy load that is distributed unevenly or improperly, day after day, week after week, can indeed cause stress to the spinal column of a growing child. “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree” is a phrase that often comes to mind when seeing children lugging backpacks around.
A Cure for the Back Pack Blues
Back pain is pervasive in our society. Much of this is brought on by bad habits that were started during our younger years – such as carrying overweight backpacks to school. Slinging a heavy backpack over one shoulder every day may provoke serious postural misalignments and joint irritation.
Chiropractors have long recognized the spinal health hazards of heavy backpack use and are experts in correcting misalignments. As specialists in spinal biomechanics, chiropractors also work to educate parents and the community about the proper use of backpacks.
Important Steps in Preventing Backpack Related Injuries
In an effort to reduce backpack related injuries, follow the preventative measures below to ensure the health and safety of your child.
* The maximum weight for your child's loaded backpack should not exceed 10-15% of his or her body weight. For example, an 80-pound child should not carry more than 12 pounds in a pack. If the backpack is heavier, it will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back rather than on the shoulders. This rounding of the shoulders will result in back, shoulder and neck pain.
* Insist that your child wear both shoulder straps. Luggin g a backpack with one shoulder strap causes the child to lean to one side to compensate for the uneven weight. This can cause permanent misalignment of the spine, neck and back pain, muscle fatigue and lowered state of health. The bottom of the backpack should rest in the curve of the lower back and the top touch just below the big knob on the back of your neck.
* Padded straps are very important. Look for backpacks with wide padded shoulder straps to avoid pressure on the nerves around the armpits. Padded waist straps that keep the backpack close to the body will help maintain proper balance.
* Teach your child to pack his or her backpack by evenly distributing the contents. Keep the heaviest items closest to your back and avoid loading unnecessary items. The more spread out a load is, the less strain it puts on any one part of the body.
* Often ignored is the act of lifting the backpack. Bend at the knees, use both hands, check the weight of the pack and lift with your legs, not your back. Carefully put one shoulder strap on at a time. Never sling the pack onto one shoulder.
* For older students, encourage them to make frequent trips to their locker between classes to replace books. If the backpack is still too heavy to take home, talk to your child’s teacher. It might be possible to obtain two sets of books or bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.
* Talk to your child about the importance of using a backpack properly. A child who is educated early in life on the importance of ergonomics can apply this knowledge in the home and office as they grow older, and will be happier and healthier as a result.
Chiropractic care can help
It is important to remember that like many health problems, spinal disorders often go unnoticed and therefore ignored. Because of this, it is especially important to call your Chiropractor if your child experiences any pain or discomfort in the shoulders, neck, legs or back. This way, any potential spinal or postural problems can be addressed and corrected before they get worse. Spinal correction is specific and gentle with a child. If you're a parent, don't ignore this potential threat to your child's health. Schedule a chiropractic evaluation for your youngster today.
At least 70 percent of America’s 30 million elementary school students use computers, according to a recent New York Times article. As a result of this increased usage, doctors of chiropractic are treating more young patients suffering from the effects of working at computer stations that are either designed for adults or poorly designed for children. Many children are already suffering from repetitive motion injuries (RMI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic pain in the hands, back, neck and shoulders.
Children Need to Practice Good Computer Ergonomics, Too!
A recently published study conducted by a team of researchers from Cornell University found that 40 percent of the elementary school children they studied used computer workstations that put them at postural risk. The remaining 60 percent scored in a range indicating “some concern.”
“Emphasis needs to be placed on teaching children how to properly use computer workstations,” stated Dr. Scott Bautch, a member of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Occupational Health. “Poor work habits and computer workstations that don’t fit a child’s body during the developing years can have harmful physical effects that can last a lifetime. Parents need to be just as concerned about their children’s interaction with their computer workstations as they are with any activities that may affect their children’s long-term health,” added Dr. Bautch.
What can you do?
To reduce the possibility of your child suffering painful injuries, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and its Council on Occupational Health offer the following tips:
“If your child continues to complain of pain and strain from sitting at a computer, see a doctor of chiropractic,” urges Dr. Bautch. “A chiropractor can help alleviate your child’s pain and help prevent further injury.”
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com or visit my website http://www.landrumdc.com.
No wonder most of the population stands and sits in a slumped over posistion! If you are not sitting in a good posture during the day, its just to carry over into the rest of your life.
Unless you're lucky enough to be on your feet all day for work, you probably sit way too much. We all do it. We begin the day by sitting at work. When we go home, we sit on the couch. When we have dinner, we sit on a chair. When we watch a movie, we sit in the theater. When we go out, we sit on a stool. Our life is full with sitting interrupted by little moments of walking to our next chair.
What people dont realize are that so many common aches and pains can commonly be linked to poor posture: headaches, dull lower back pain, tightness in the shoulders. So it's important to, well, be good at it. This video shows you the correct posture for sitting. Produced by Flikli (flikli.com)
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website http://www.landrumdc.com.
As with most homeowners, the spring and summer weather signifies
that it is time for yard work. This may include weeding, planting flowers, or getting the garden started. In our office, spring and summer weather also
signifies something. It is the onset of influx of people who have worked too long and hard in their yard, resulting in a sore back. In order to prevent this
from happening, please be conscious of the following tips while gardening or
doing yard tasks.
First of all, give your muscles a chance to warm up before working in the yard or garden. Practice stretching with the various movements you will be working in the yard, or take a short ten to fifteen-minute walk around the block.
When using a hedge trimmer, keep your back straight and use short strokes to avoid upper arm and neck strain. Don’t use wide sweeping side to side motions, as this will irritate the joints in your low back. Pause after three to five minutes. It may take longer, but your back will thank you in the long run.
Keep overhead work to five-minute episodes. This is especially true if you are holding a hedge trimmer or some other tool above your head. Avoid extreme reaching with one arm.
One the most notorious gardening activities that often results in back pain is shoveling. This activity requires repetitive bending and twisting of the back, while lifting a shovel full of material. This formula is a recipe for disaster. The lower back is generally a strong and stable part of the body. However, when used improperly, problems will arise. When shoveling, both feet should be planted firmly and the pelvis should be facing wherever the shovel is digging. When a person digs at an angle or at the side of their body, this puts the back in a vulnerable twisted
position. This is especially true when a person is digging in front of themselves and then twists to throw the dirt to a different spot. Doing this for a long period of time is really a bad idea! If a person has to move dirt from one spot to another, he or she should dig in front of them and then reposition his or her feet and pelvis to face the spot where the dirt is to be deposited. This prevents the back from twisting at all and keeps it in a safe position. Imagine sitting up straight in a flat back chair. When this curve reverses or becomes convex, the back is in a vulnerable position.
When using a wheelbarrow, the same rules apply. The back should remain straight when lifting and pushing a wheelbarrow and be sure not to twist the back. Do not fill the wheelbarrow completely full, as it will be “top-heavy”. If the wheelbarrow is in the process of tipping and a person tries hard to prevent it, this is a prime scenario for a back injury to occur.
Keep these tips in mind when doing your spring and summer yard tasks. As well, see your chiropractor prior to attempting the yard tasks so that your back is functioning at its full potential. As much as I love helping people with their low back injuries, I feel that preventing an injury from happening in the first place is much better than trying to treat it after the fact.
If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to email me at
email@example.com or visit my website http://www.landrumdc.com.
World's fastest man, Usain Bolt, says that he is fit and ready for London's 2012 Olympics and is convinced his defense of the 100m title could trigger one of the fastest ever races in the blue riband sprint. Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter and a five-time World and three-time Olympic gold medalist. He is the world record and Olympic record holder in the 100 metres, the 200 metres and (along with his teammates) the 4×100 metres relay and the reigning Olympic champion in these
three events. He is one of only seven athletes to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event.
Usain Bolt regularly utilizes chiropractic care to improve his performance
South Florida's Dr. Michael Douglas has been the official Chiropractor of the Jamaican Olympic Team since 1996. He blends sports injury rehabilitation and traditional chiropractic care techniques and has performed these techniques on thousands of patients as well as on some of the world’s greatest Olympians such as Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell, Shelly-Ann Fraser and more.
Many, unfortunately, turn to chiropractic care only AFTER they have been injured. But, in addition to improving performance, speed and agility, ongoing chiropractic care and therapy can offer several health and wellness benefits vital to everyone:
Whether you are suffering from a car accident, occupational injury, sports-related trauma or everyday pain, chiropractors everywhere are ready to help you even at the 2012 Olympics.
Chiropractic therapy offers several benefits for athletes who are constantly pushing their bodies to the max. In fact, other top athletes such as Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong each have regular chiropractic care regimented into their routines.
It is very rare that I would encourage someone to not exercise. However, there are certain exercises or stretches that may pose more of a risk than a benefit. For example, I had an adult male in my office this week that had extreme low back pain. What upset him almost as much as the pain was the fact that he “didn’t do anything to bring on such an injury”. He described to me his daily ritual of doing an exercise routine that his physical education teacher taught him twenty years ago. It consisted of many exercises, four of which were: bending over to reach his toes from a standing position, moving his lower back forward/sideways/backwards in a rotational pattern while standing, moving his head in a forward/sideways/and backward rotational pattern, and full sit-ups.
Many of the exercises we were taught twenty years ago have now been proven to potentially cause injury in vulnerable people. The four exercises I described above that this gentleman was doing are perfect examples. When he bent over from a standing position to reach his toes and stretch the back of his legs (hamstrings) and lower back, the entire weight of his upper body was being held in a vulnerable position by the joints and muscles of the lower back. If the joints in his lower back were already previously stiff or their mobility was restricted, forcing them to move farther than they can comfortably go can injure them. In fact, this is exactly what happened to this gentleman. He felt that his back was slightly stiff and he therefore decided to stretch it by reaching for his toes. He did not have the potential mobility in his lower back joints to accomplish this. It was then that he experienced the onset of sharp pain in that region.
Along those same lines, rotating his upper body in a circular pattern in order to stretch his back will repetitively compress and stretch open the joints in his lower back. Because he
did this exercise while standing, the weight of his upper body also applied acompressive force to the same joints. Particularly in the spine, rotational andbending motions combined with compressive forces can seriously irritate the joints. They can become inflamed and restricted in their movement. If severe enough, the neighboring nerves can become irritated. These nerves control the muscles along the spine and can be responsible for very painful muscle spasms. This is why doing a similar rotational movement with your head, particularly at the point when your neck is bent all the way backwards, can also cause acute joint inflammation, nerve irritation, and muscle spasm of the neck.
Lastly, when this gentleman did his sit-ups, he raised his upper body all the way up to touch his knees. Not only does this technique not isolate the abdominal muscles well, it can also put pressure on the low back and neck if the exercise is not done a very specific way. If you want to stretch the back of your legs (hamstrings) and lower back without putting your lower back at risk, lay down on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then raise one leg only and slowly straighten the knee slowly. You should feel a tightening sensation at the back of that leg. Hold for ten seconds and then do the same for the other side.
To stretch your lower back in safe rotational manner, lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, straighten out one leg and leave it on the floor. If it is your right knee that is still bent, use your left hand and pull the right knee so that your lower body rotates to the left. Your shoulders must stay flat on the floor. Hold this stretch for ten seconds and then repeat on the opposite side.
Instead of doing rotational movements with the neck, it is safer to do static stretches to the left, right, and forward.
Instead of doing full sit-ups, a much safer technique is to do“crunches” and only lift your shoulders a few inches off the floor. Because I can only explainso much through written text, if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to email me at landrumdc.com or visit my website http://www.landrumdc.com.
Dr. Brad Landrum is a chiropractor in Hopkinsville, Ky.