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Posted on 08-25-2017

Back-to-School Special:

West Hartford Chiropractic Prevents Backpack Syndrome

As the days grow shorter and "back to school" becomes the mantra of children and parents across the land, we are confronted with the quandary of how to best outfit and prepare our precious future for the upcoming scholastic year.  While the concern regarding over-burdened students and their brimming backpacks is nothing new, it is a perpetual issue that plagues developing spines across the globe. Early childhood and adolescence are critical periods of spinal development and are consequently times of vulnerability to postural and ergonomic stressors. If not properly addressed, these seemingly trivial issues have the potential to cause structural shifts in the spine that mature into more concerning forms of pain and degeneration.

            child suffering from back pain and in need of careThe condition known as "backpack syndrome" affects 40-70% of children in developed nations and is comprised of symptoms such as general fatigue, headaches, neck and/or low back pain in combination with obvious postural abnormality related to the carrying of a backpack (1). A backpack that is excessively heavy can force a child to compensate by leaning their upper body forward. Unfortunately, this compensation promotes a reduction in the normal shock-absorbing curve of the lower spine and greatly increases the compressive force placed on the spinal discs (2). It is easy to see how subjecting a young spine to such daily stress for years of critical development can lead to more debilitating conditions later in life.          

            So, how do we identify the signs of a structural shift in the spine, and how can we minimize the damage that occurs because of abnormal stress caused by carrying a heavy pack? A good start is to always LISTEN to and WATCH your child if they describe or show any signs of "backpack syndrome." HAVE YOUR CHILD CHECKED by a licensed chiropractic physician who is trained to identify areas of spinal stress and correct them before they become symptomatic. REMEMBER that it is ALWAYS easier to maintain something in working order than it is to correct it once damaged. As clinicians at West Hartford Chiropractic, we provide our patients with specific chiropractic care to correct structural shifts that occur because of abnormal spinal stress.

As a healthy send-off to our students returning to school, we are offering complimentary backpack checks, which include a spinal check-up, digital posture analysis, and proper backpack fitting with healthy recommendations. (Don’t forget to bring in your backpack!)

To schedule your check-up, please call 1-860-232-5556.

Yours in health,

The West Hartford Chiropractic Team

Sources and Recommended Reading:

  1. Walicka-Cuprys, K., Skalska-Izdebska, R., Rachwal, M., & Truszcynska, A. (2015). Influence of the Weight of a School Backpack on Spinal Curvature in the Sagittal Plane of Seven-Year-Old Children. BioMed Research International. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  2. Harrison, D. E., Colloca, C. J., Harrison, D. D., Janik, T. J., Haas, J. W., & Keller, T. S. (2005). Anterior Thoracic Posture Increases Thoracolumbar Disc Loading. European Spine Journal,14, 234-242. doi:10.1007/s00586-004-0734-0
  3. Ohm, J. (n.d.). Is Your Child's Backpack a Source of Spinal Stress? Retrieved August 2, 2017, from http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/Children-s-Health-Wellness/is-your-childs-backpack-a-source-of-spinal-stress/Print.html

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