As schools across the country remove, or restrict access to student lockers, more and more books, accessories and other possessions are being stuffed into backpacks. The student can become a “walking locker”.
Our youngest children are especially at risk. The fifth grade level seems to be the time when children are required to start loading backpacks with more books than personal belongings. At this age, around 10, muscles and bones are still developing and problems can start that can carry through the lifetime of the person.
Some statistics from the US:
More than 40 million students carry school backpacks (Teaching Elementary Physical
Health, March 1999).
A 1999 study by Simmons College (Boston) professor Dr. Shelly Goodgold, Sc.D found that more than half of children in a study regularly carried more than the recommended 15% of their body weight in their school backpacks.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that more than 3,300 children, aged 5-14 years, were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to backpacks in 1998; these numbers do not include students who went to family physicians or orthopedists.
A study by Auburn University researchers (Anniston, Alabama, Pascoe, et al) stated the most common symptom reported from backpack use is “rucksack palsy.” This condition results when pressure put on the nerve in the shoulder causes numbness in the hands, muscle wasting, and in extreme cases, nerve damage (Journal Ergonomics, vol. 40, #6, 1997).
58% of orthopedists polled in 1999 in Chicago and Wilmington, Delaware, reported treating children with back or shoulder pain attributable to carrying backpacks.
You can discover if your child has a postural distortion. Normal posture screens are $160. Come in and get your report for $40. You will get the Posture Screen pictures and a discussion if the Postural Distortion is affecting your child’s learning ability.
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Yours in Health
Prof Sundardas D Annamalay
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