Heading back to school is an exciting time for many young people. Whether a child is starting his or her first day of kindergarten or a young adult is heading off to college for the first time, the beginning of the school year is a momentous occasion for parents and kids alike. Getting the process underway, though, often involves handling and transporting a lot of items, and heavy lifting can often lead to back pain.
Using a backpack is the most popular way for students to transport books, sports equipment and other supplies between home, school, and the practice field. The bags can fill up very quickly and become very heavy, and carrying a weighty pack for any length of time can put undue pressure on the vertebrae and cause shoulder and neck strain.
In order to help prevent injury and pain, backpacks should only be used to carry necessary items. Any extra supplies or equipment can be stored in a separate bag that is held close to the front of the body during transportation. Ideally, spine surgeons in Santa Monica recommend backpacks weigh no more than 15 percent of the child’s total body weight. So, a pack for a 50-pound child should not be heavier than 7 or 8 pounds.
Students who attend classes far from home usually have a lot of furniture and other items that they need in their new dormitory or apartment at school. In addition to desks, sofas, and beds, kids often have large boxes of clothes and other household items that need to be moved. Carrying large furniture and boxes across parking lots and up stairways poses a risk of back injury to both students and their parents.
In order to prevent spinal injuries, proper body mechanics should be practiced when picking up and moving objects. The muscles of the legs, rather than the lower back, need to be used when lifting. Before grasping the item, the knees should be bent and the box or furniture held close to the body when arising. Being mindful not to pull or tug at heavy objects is also important for preserving the lumbar muscles and lower spine.
When it comes to back and neck pain, it’s important to intervene as soon as possible to limit the potential for serious long-term effects. If you or a loved one are living with back pain that may be the result of a long-standing childhood habit, it might be time to seek appropriate medical attention. Today, motion-preserving spine technologies provide an alternative to fusion surgeries and allow patients to retain as much natural motion as possible.
For more information about surgical and conservative spine procedures, reach out to The Spine Institute Center in Beverly Hills where a board-certified spine surgeon can help determine the cause of your pain and identify all possible treatment options. Call (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation today.