As students begin a new school year, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is taking the opportunity to inform our community about backpack usage, potential medical issues that it can cause, and ways to prevent these issues for National School Backpack Awareness Day.
Most students use backpacks to carry the books and supplies they need for school each day, often hauling loads weighing as much as 20% of their body weight. When students frequently carry this kind of weight, the muscles and joints in their back, neck, and shoulders can become strained or injured due to continuous stress. This can also lead to posture problems, causing misalignment in the musculoskeletal system, interfering with proper joint movement and function, and wearing away the spine.
Your child’s choice of backpack can substantially help to avoid these problems. Look for a backpack that:
- Fits your child properly
- Features two wide, padded shoulder straps and a waist strap
- Has a padded back
- Is lightweight
These features are most helpful when utilized properly. All straps on a backpack should be tightened to keep the load as close to a student’s back as possible, reducing the stress it places on their muscles. Additionally, keep the heaviest items low and toward the center of the backpack, removing any items that aren’t necessary for the day. Lastly, be sure your child is lifting the weight of the backpack from their knees, not their back.
If your child is experiencing frequent or chronic back pain, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center to diagnose and treat the problem by calling (718) 206-7001.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.