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Students and Back Pain

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It's back to school, back to the books, and for lots of students, a painful lesson about back pain. More than 55% of students carry backpacks that are too heavy.

Dr. Kathryn Haynes, Total Health Chiropractic says "Come school time, I see more children with back pain than I do the rest of the year."

Constantly carrying an overloaded backpack can not only lead to back pain, but also.. neck pain, headaches, and poor posture.

Dr. Haynes has these tips to help prevent back pack related injuries.

First, it's important for students to pick the correct size.

Dr. Kathryn Haynes says "You want to make sure the backpack is testing above the belt, below belt hits lower back and causes a lot of back pain."

Next, be sure and check those straps.

Dr. Kathryn Haynes says "The skinny straps can put a lot of stress on these bones and muscles and cause numbness, tingling, burning down in the arm."

The weight of the backpack is very important.

Dr. Kathryn Haynes says "Ideally, you don't want the backpack to weigh anymore than 10-15 percent of the child's weight."

So if a child weighs 90 pounds, the backpack should weigh no more than 13 pounds.

Dr. Kathryn Haynes  "So if they are walking around like this and the backpack is 20-30 pounds, you are working out, developing muscle around that posture."

And that bad posture can lead to serious spine problems.

Dr. Kathryn Haynes says "Here you have a nice straight spine, this one goes off to the side and kinda curves."

While a curved spine isn't a good sign, the good news when it comes to kids is that treatment can usually correct the problem.

Dr. Kathryn Haynes says "Most of the time with kids, it is completely reversible, if you catch things early on with children it is 100% reversible most of the time."

Dr. Haynes says prevention is key, so study away, and make sure to pass the test when it comes to avoiding backpack pain.



1. Use a lightweight, Nylon Bag not a fancy leather heavy pack - the bag should be as light as possible so you don't add weight with the bag itself.

2. Avoid the popular messenger bags that are slung over the shoulder - they can cause spine misalignment.

3. Wheels? Look for rolling packs so kids can roll the weight versus carry it!

4. Lift it properly - teach children to bend at the knees and lift with their legs.


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