Radiologist gives tips to limit backpack-related injuries
About 7,000 children visit the ER each year due to backpack injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
INDIANAPOLIS — About 7,000 children visit the emergency room each year due to backpack-related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
A local radiologist said many people think our back muscles can handle more and end up overdoing it. This can lead to problems with posture, walking, and breathing muscles, not to mention pain.
Patients of Dr. Catherine King at Northwest Radiology will complain of neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. In the long term, most people are able to correct it naturally. However, this can sometimes lead to what is called backpack paralysis. This means that a spinal nerve runs down the side of your body and may cause pain or weakness over time.
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There are several ways to eliminate injuries, including choosing the right backpack and wearing it correctly. Backpacks should have two straps for symmetry, not one. They should be padded and thick, worn a little tight to your body.
King said students should also pack the heaviest items in the lower center of the backpack.
“We try to balance and when we have that extra load, the higher it is, the more likely we are to adjust the center of gravity,” King said. “Instead of being pulled back, we try to adjust it by flexing our neck a bit, and that just puts pressure on the back, it puts pressure on the shoulder muscles, and it can also change your gait.”
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King said students should wear 10% of their body weight, 20% maximum.
They should not wear them for more than 10 minutes, if possible.