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The backpack is as much as a part of school life as homework. Students use backpacks to carry everything they need. Unfortunately, the weight of everything they need stuffed into an improperly worn backpack may lead to sore joints and muscles.
“Many students carry backpack loads weighing more than 15 percent of their body weight, and parents are starting to hear their school-age children complaining of back pain,” says Dr. Jessica Sosso, a Mayo Clinic Health System family physician.
When worn properly, backpacks are the best way to carry things, especially for long periods of time, adds Dr. Sosso. “When properly worn, a backpack is supported by the strongest muscles in the body: the back and abdominal muscles. These muscles work together to stabilize the trunk and hold the body in proper postural alignment. Improper backpack use presents some dangers to young, still-growing joints and muscles.”
Dr. Sosso suggests these tips:
“Overall, you should encourage your children to wear their backpacks properly and keep it light,” says Dr. Sosso. “Have them use both straps and make frequent stops at their locker throughout the day to avoid carrying all their books at once. And leave nonessentials at home. Urge your children to tell you if they are in pain or have discomfort before a problem becomes serious.”
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