While back pain is a known and widely-studied issue in adults, its prevalence in school-aged children has received comparatively little scientific attention. Elementary, middle, and high school students must often carry backpacks that weigh enough to cause chronic back pain, poor posture, and even decreased lung volume. Recently, several studies reveal the truths behind childhood back pain and ways to mitigate it.
Are Backpacks Too Heavy for Kids?
Recent research supports that children carrying backpack loads of more than ten percent of their body weight have a greater risk of developing back pain and related issues. An international study found that an alarmingly large proportion of school-aged children in Australia, France, Italy, and the United States regularly carried backpacks weighing more than the ten percent threshold.
In another study involving a sample of 1540 metropolitan school-aged children, over a third of the children surveyed reported back pain. In addition to carrying heavy backpacks, female students and those diagnosed with scoliosis had a greater association with back pain. Children with access to lockers reported less pain.
The number of straps on the backpack had little impact on the respondents' answers. Children also reported limited physical activity due to back pain, and some took medication to relieve the pain.
Girls who carried purses in addition to wearing a backpack reported significantly greater back pain. Adolescents with back pain spent more time watching television than their peers. Over 80 percent of those surveyed believed that carrying a heavy backpack caused their back pain.
Proper Backpack Carrying Techniques
The studies revealed several factors that may help reduce back pain in school-aged children. The best way to prevent back pain is to avoid carrying heavy loads.
Children should take advantage of locker breaks and only carry items necessary for a couple of classes at a time. When lifting a backpack, children should crouch down and bend their knees rather than curve the spine.
While not conclusive, research also supports that carrying the weight differently, e.g., by hand rather than by backpack, may help prevent or reduce back pain. The American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Chiropractic Association offer these additional safe backpack tips:
Chiropractic Care Can Help
If your child continues to experience back pain, contact your local chiropractor. Chiropractic care benefits many adults with spinal discomfort, and licensed practitioners can provide tailored treatments for children.
Chiropractors can also recommend safe exercises to improve back strength, and additional advice on proper nutrition to build strong bones and joints, healthy posture, and more. If your child is experiencing back pain from carrying a backpack, gives us a call. We’re here to help!
As an chiropractor, I like answering the questions I receive from my patients. A common inquiry is "what is the difference between a sprain and a strain?" Sprains and strains are injuries to the musculoskeletal system that are commonly diagnosed conditions, and are two separate issues people frequently mix up. I will attempt to explain away some of the confusion today.
Let's look at three ways sprains and strains differ from each other.
1. Sprains and strains afflict different parts of the body.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIH), a sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament which provides joint stability. A strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon in the area where it is turning into a muscle.
2. Sprains and strains are most often caused from different actions.
Falling or twisting the wrong way typically causes a sprain, because the movement forces a joint into an awkward position and ends up stretching or tearing the ligament. Twisting an ankle, falling down the stairs, or trying to catch yourself on an icy walkway are all ways to end up with a sprain.
A strain often results from overexertion or trauma, and repetitive movement. Lifting an item that is too heavy, jumping into an exercise routine that is too strenuous, or performing repetitive movements in either a sport or work are ways an individual can end up suffering from a strain.
3. Sprains and strains generally affect different areas of the body.
Sprains occur at parts of the body that are injured when falling or suddenly twisting. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, ankle sprains alone number around 2 million each year.
Ankles, wrists, knees, and fingers are all areas that are frequently sprained. Strains, on the other hand, commonly occur in the back, shoulder, or hamstring, as both of these areas are affected by overexertion or repetitive movement.
Although sprains and strains are different injuries, they do have some similarities. This is most likely why people get them mixed up.
Let's discuss a few commonalities of sprains and strains.
Both share common symptoms. Both injuries can bring on pain, swelling, and limited movement at the injury site. The pain can be moderate or intense, depending on the severity of the injury. Sprains and strains both benefit from ice packs, rest, and elevation.
They can require surgery. Most diagnosed strains and sprains heal on their own with time, but a serious tear can require surgery to repair. With both injuries, it's important to visit a doctor if an individual experiences severe pain and swelling, and decreased mobility.
Both can benefit from chiropractic care. Chiropractors can work wonders on the neck and back, but chiropractic care can assist in lessening the impact of a strain or sprain injury, too.
The benefits of seeing a chiropractor for both sprains and sprains are twofold. Chiropractic treatments promote healing of the injured area as well as help strengthen the areas around the injury to decrease the chance of future injuries.
Sprains and strains can sideline individuals from their activities, no matter if they are athletes or regular guys doing yard work. It's vital to take steps to avoid sprains and strains in the first place.
Always properly stretch and avoid overexertion to prevent strains. Take pains to clear walkways and stairways to avoid falls or sudden twisting movements to decrease the risk of sprains.
If you end up with a strain or sprain, contact the office for a consultation. I have extensive experience in working with patients suffering from sprains and strains.
There are dangers in everyday life, from slipping in the shower to getting mowed down by the next door neighbor's teenage driver. The risk doesn't end once we are safely behind our desks, because; sitting is killing us!
Seriously, while not really trying to commit murder, our computer, desk, office chair and keyboard are not our friends. We spend hours each day sitting, typing, staring at the computer screen, and this inactivity is wreaking havoc on our health in a variety of ways.
First, most of us sit incorrectly
Goldilocks knew what she was doing when it came to carefully selecting the right chair. Most of us cause excess stress and pressure on our neck, shoulders, and back from the way we sit in our inadequate office chairs.
According to OSHA, a person who spends time at their computer needs to choose an adjustable chair that supports the back, buttocks, legs and arms. Be mindful of your posture throughout the day as well. An ergonomically adjusted chair minimizes the occurrences of awkward, strained positions that frequently cause injury.
Along with the way we sit, our office jobs are killing us because;
We have our desks laid out wrong
Even with a great chair, a desk that is the wrong height can cause a person to repetitively move and bend awkwardly during the day and injure themselves. Anyone who sits behind a desk needs to make certain it is the right height to comfortably reach the computer keyboard and all pertinent supplies are within a comfortable reach. Add a foot rest to decrease the stress on the lower back. Ergonomically positioning a desk offers greater comfort and less stress on a person's body.
We also type wrong
Using the keyboard incorrectly can cause a ton of painful medical conditions from neck and back issues to carpal tunnel syndrome. The keyboard should sit at elbow height. Reduce the strain on your hands by keeping them in as natural a position as possible, holding your wrists up even with the backs of your hands. Avoid banging the keys by typing softly, which alleviates the stress on your fingers.
A computer mouse should be situated close to the keyboard, and it's essential to keep the hand in a neutral position when using it. Avoid resting your hand on the mouse for an extended period of time.
Not taking breaks
According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting for long periods of time is linked to a variety of serious medical conditions from obesity to high blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Sitting in the same position for hours can put pressure on and result in back and neck pain.
Break up sitting every 30 minutes by standing and walking around and stretching if possible. Even standing for a couple of minutes at a time lessens the impact of a sedentary job.
In addition to taking the initiative to build an ergonomic office space, choosing to participate in chiropractic care is a great way to help eliminate pain from back, shoulder, and neck strain. Chiropractic treatment involves adjusting the spine, along with other techniques, offering better alignment in particular and a stronger, healthier body in general. A long-term benefit of chiropractic care is a body that enjoys greater mobility and fewer aches and pains.
An ergonomic office setup is critical in maintaining good posture that minimizes strain and repetitive motion injuries. By investing in ergonomically tailored furniture and setting it up to suit your specific needs, you will lessen the harm an office job does to your body.
If you or a co-worker suffer from symptoms related to an improperly positioned workstation, give us a call. Our Doctor of Chiropractic can help get the symptoms under control as well as guide you toward a more healthier spine and working environment.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that has afflicted more people in the last 20 years than ever. Some doctors attribute the increase to the pollutants in the air, the changes in the modern diet, and lack of adequate ventilation in homes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, asthma symptoms vary by individuals and may be mild, severe, or somewhere in between. Shortness of breath and tightness in the chest, along with a wheezing sound when exhaling are common asthma symptoms. Common treatments include inhalers and other medications.
With the millions of asthma sufferers seeking relief, non-traditional treatments have emerged in addition to the everyday remedies. One of the alternatives that has shown positive results is chiropractic care.
A person who suffers from asthma can enjoy multiple benefits from chiropractic. Four of the top benefits chiropractic care can bring to asthma patients are the following:
Reducing the frequency of attacks
Over time, spinal adjustments can help some asthma sufferers decrease the number of attacks. When a spine is in alignment, energy flows through the nerves to the person's organs. A nonaligned spine can cause the energy to fail to flow through the nerve endings as effectively, and a host of issues can arise.
The lungs can suffer when the spine is not aligned. Chiropractors are able to treat the spine so that, over time, it aligns. In some cases, this helps lung function and decreases the number of asthma attacks.
Stimulating air flow
The lungs are obviously vital for breathing, but the airway and diaphragm also play a part. Both of these can be hindered by a spine that is not aligned.
When a chiropractor works with a patient to align the spine, the airways and diaphragm can move more freely, allowing better airflow. While this is not a cure for asthma, in many cases stimulating a body's airflow can help decrease the suffering the chronic condition causes.
Boosting the immune system
A significant number of asthma attacks are brought on and exacerbated by an individual's low immune system. Chiropractic care helps increase the effectiveness of the immune system.
Think of it this way: The autonomic nervous system is connected to the body's immune system by way of the endocrine system. When the spine is out of line, it can affect the immune system.
If a person suffers from chronic asthma attacks, this could be the time when he or she has an episode. A chiropractor who can align the spine can create a positive domino effect. The nervous system improves, the immune system improves, and the asthma attacks decrease.
Working in conjunction with traditional asthma medication
People with asthma commonly use inhalers and steroids to manage their symptoms. Chiropractic care is non-invasive and works with these treatments to lessen the instances and severity of attacks.
A study by Michigan Chiropractic Council showed that asthma sufferers who went through 30 days of chiropractic treatments reported a 70% reduction in medication.
Patients who commit to chiropractic can sometimes manage the symptoms of asthma more naturally, and lessen their dependence on medications. (It's important to note that patients should never go off medications on their own. Always speak to a doctor before changing medications).
Asthma patients fortunately have a variety of treatment options. For those who don't respond to traditional medication, or who wish to decrease their dosage, non-traditional choices like chiropractic may be the answer.
It's advisable to speak to both your medical doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic about your asthma symptoms. By having both disciplines co-manage your case, you’ll work toward a healthier outcome, possibly even without the use of drugs. Give us a call to learn more.
Dr. Andy Johnson