Medical experts say many school backpacks are still too heavy for children | WSAU News/Talk 550AM 99.9FM

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RHINELANDER, WI (WSAU-WXPR) — Wearing a backpack correctly can save kids and teens a lot of trouble.

Megan Stankowski is an Aspirus physiotherapist. She says she regularly sees students with back, neck and shoulder pain from not carrying their backpacks properly. “My mum always told me, ‘You’re going to pay when you’re older’ and it’s true. Them carrying all that weight all day, they can pay for it later. It doesn’t just have to happen that day.

To avoid back injuries from backpacks, Stankowski recommends students use their lockers to store books. This will reduce the weight of the packs.

The heaviest items should be stored closest to your back. And the backpack should fit snugly and be worn with both straps.

Stankowski says if students are still in pain after making these adjustments, they should see a doctor. “Injuries that occur with backpacks can be treated with physical therapy by doing stretching, strengthening, and training in lifting mechanics and postural mechanics. If the backpack is too heavy, the child may be leaning too far forward. If a strap is too loose or they tend to wear it to one side, maybe they’re leaning a lot and then we need to do some posture corrections, muscle strengthening, and just some body awareness.

Stankowski says people shouldn’t carry more than 15% of their body weight in a backpack.

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