Union County Chiropractic

Researchers identify maximum weight children should carry in school backpacks

Researchers have determined for the first time the maximum weight a child should carry using a school backpack trolley: a maximum of 20% of their body weight.

To date, weight recommendations have been established for ordinary school backpacks, as they are the most widely used type in the school context worldwide. However, some children use backpacks on wheeled trolleys, and until now there have been no studies making weight recommendations for this type of backpack.

What causes back pain?

Your back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of movements—for example, picking up a pencil from the floor—can have painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain.

Back pain and the opioid epidemic

With today’s growing emphasis on quality care, clinical outcomes and cost effectiveness, spinal manipulation is receiving increased attention. The epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse has also led to wider acknowledgment of the benefits of nondrug approaches to pain.

Spinal manipulation is a safe and effective nondrug spine pain treatment. It reduces pain (decreasing the need for medication in some cases), rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as bed rest.

Research supports chiropractic spinal manipulation

A growing body of research supports spinal manipulation:

After an extensive study of all available care for low back problems, the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality) recommended that low back pain sufferers choose the most conservative care first. And it recommended spinal manipulation as the only safe and effective, drugless form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems in adults.

Back pain facts and statistics

Although doctors of chiropractic treat more than just back pain, many patients initially visit a chiropractor looking for relief from this pervasive condition. In fact, about 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. Some interesting facts:

Back pain can affect people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly. Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives.

Back pain is the third most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, behind skin disorders and osteoarthritis/joint disorders.

Take steps to better musculoskeletal health Part II

Here are some steps to set yourself up for future stability and success by improving the strength of your musculoskeletal (MSK) system:
Move more: Bones, muscles and joints need movement to stay healthy. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends adults get at least 150 minutes weekly of moderate physical activity (such as walking, yardwork, recreational swimming) or at least 75 minutes of intense weekly activity (jogging, hiking uphill, basketball).

Take steps to better musculoskeletal health Part I

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and chiropractors nationwide are encouraging the public to take simple steps toward better musculoskeletal (MSK) health. The MSK system is comprised of the spine as well as all the muscles, bones and joints of the body.

Walking as exercise

Rule number one: be sure to consult your doctor of chiropractic before beginning any exercise program.

Walking just 12 minutes every other day can offer important health benefits. But in order to increase your longevity, try to walk for up to 30 minutes, five days per week.

Move your arms freely, in coordination with the opposite leg. Don’t stoop your head or look down as you walk. This will challenge the normal forward curve of your neck, which, in turn, will cause you to carry your weight improperly.

Winter recreational activities

When snow, ice and frigid weather blast into town, you should take precautions to prevent injury. Winter recreational activities can pose problems for the outdoor enthusiast whose body is not properly conditioned. Winter sports like skating, skiing and sledding can cause painful muscle spasms, strains or tears if you haven’t taken the time to warm up.

Injury Prevention Tips

Following these guidelines can help you prevent injuries: Avoid doing too much, too soon. Never increase the length of your workouts by more than 10 percent from one week to the next, and never increase both the length and intensity of your workout at the same time. Never skip your warm-up or cool-down. Tight or stiff muscles around a joint will make the area more prone to injury. This is especially important in sports that require quick movements, such as basketball and tennis.

Joint Injuries

Human joints come in many shapes and sizes and allow us to move and carry out normal activities of daily living. Without joints, we would be rigid and immobile. But they are also often injured, causing pain and discomfort. The most commonly injured joints are the knees, shoulders, ankles and spine. Approximately 30 million doctor visits a year are due to knee and shoulder injuries alone. Some 150 million to 200 million cases of back pain send people to the doctor every year—and many of those are related to joint injuries. Most sports-related injuries involve damage to the joints.

Dietary Changes to Rejuvenate Your Health

A good way to maintain your health is to eat nutritiously. In fact, even a few simple changes in your diet can have a positive impact on your health—and may prevent a variety of chronic health problems in the future. As part of their extensive education, chiropractors are trained in nutrition and wellness promotion, and they can offer you dietary counseling as well as lifestyle tips to get you moving in the right direction. Start today to make better choices that will fuel and strengthen your body. Here are some simple suggestions:

Preventing Repetitive Stress Injuries

When relatively small abnormal stresses are repeatedly placed on normal joints, the injuries that result are called repetitive-stress injuries or cumulative-trauma disorders. The stresses placed on joints by poor posture, poor joint position during the performance of a task, and/or poor workstation ergonomics make these joints more likely to be injured.

There are three basic principles that are especially important when considering the impact of proper joint movement.

Movement is critical to joint health

Most joints in the body are lined with cartilage—a firm but pliable tissue that covers the surfaces of the bones that make up the joint. Cartilage within a joint is nourished by synovial fluid, which is “forced” into the joint cartilage through a process called imbibition. The pressure within the joint providing nourishment to the cartilage occurs only when joint movement happens. And this is why movement is critical to joint health.

How Do Joints Work?

Joints are designed to withstand the loads placed on them and provide a full range of motion. Each joint is made up of at least two surfaces that touch each other and allow for movement. These include ball-and-socket joints such as the hip; hinge joints such as the knee and elbow; and gliding joints, such as those in the spine. The bones that make up the joint allow movement, but it is the muscles that pull the bones that produce the movement. Muscles are attached to bones by structures called tendons.

Can backpacks really cause long-term problems?

More than 14,000 children are treated for backpack-related injuries each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Can these childhood injuries result in long-term back problems or chronic pain?

By the age of 14, seven percent of children report that back pain affects their everyday life. The lumbar (lower) spine is vulnerable to injury when children carry heavy loads. Such injuries may also lead to early degenerative changes in the lower spine.

And it’s not just the weight you carry in your backpack, but how you carry it.

Backpack pain: the time carrying the backpack—not the Weight—is likely causing that pain

A 2016 study on back pain caused by backpacks revealed two notable findings: Teen girls appear to experience more severe backpack-related pain compared to boys, and the time carrying the backpack—not the weight—is likely causing that pain.

The study covered 5,318 students aged 6 to 19 years. The researchers broke the student sample into three age groups: children, younger adolescents, and older adolescents.

Tips to help avoid backpack pain

Here are some tips to help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household.
Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than five to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.

Heavy Backpacks = Youth Back Pain

Back pain is pervasive among American adults, however it is not uncommon among children and teens. In a new and disturbing trend, young children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

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