Thursday, September 8, 2016

Backpack and Back Pain 2016

 / by Dr Margaret Aranda /

 Is it just me?
Or do you see?
Children with backpacks to their knees.
This is worse that just "not a breeze."
It's damaging to our children, who should not complain of pain.

The data are in to show that heavy backpacks on are children are more that just silly show. The heavy backpacks to their knees also can damage the spine. So listen to your children if they complain about neck or spine pain. We don't want them growing up to be chronic back pain patients.

And as an aside, please don't just chide you child for complaining about pain. Many, many pains are not "just growing pains." They can be harbingers of badness that remains into the adult years. Or, bone pain can also be a sign of something worse that needs to be seen by 2nd Opinion doctors. And third. And fourth. Because I want you to listen to your child's complaints.

Abnormal posture can commonly be seen. Seriously. How do we get used to seeing our children like this (See Image 1)?

Image 1. Huge Backpacks for Our Children.  How in the world did we ever become desensitized to see them screeching and reaching, twisting and moaning, grunting and rolling their eyes? Do you see? If we get used to seeing our children this way, what does that say about how we as adults take for granted the infliction of damage that we do on our own backs, in the same way? For centuries, women and men have carried heavy loads on top of their heads, using the shoulders for balance. Keep that in mind. Photo Courtesy

Problems with a Backpack

  • Not ergonomic: misshaped and does not conform to the human body
  • Improper padding: the shoulder straps are a huge culprit
  • Weight shifting: lunch bags are put under pressure; so is the spine skeleton and muscles
  • No adherence to weight limits: WoW. We need to know a bag's weight limit
  • Improperly worn: WoW Again. I didn't know there was a 'right' way to wear one
  • Spinal disc abnormalities: decreased disc height, disc compression
  • Spinal bone abnormalities: left or right abnormal spine curvature can lead to adult spine disc herniation and a surgical emergency due to decreased nerve function (See Image 2)

Image 2. Spinal Curvature Damage in Our Children. 
This is what our backpacks can do. Let's not create chronic pain patients. No one wants that for you.
Image Courtesy NovaChiropractic.

  • Medical Costs: 5,000 Emergency Room visits for school backpacks / year 
  • Misinformation: the source of the medical information needs to have no conflict of interest for interventional procedures (that is, a surgical article can't advise surgery)
  • Poor posture: hump-back decreases the upper thoracic space to perfuse the heart and lungs (See Image 3)

Image 3. Correct Way to Carry a Backpack. 
Note the shoulders and elbows are back. I think the feet can be wider, for better balance.
Photo Courtesy NovaChiropractic.

  • Increase Awareness: it's not just a funny-looking picture
  • Prevention: don't our children deserve a look at the best prevention?
  • A Pain Clinic: Specialists with post-doctoral training study extra long to treat pain
  • Treatment: pediatrics, Pain Clinic, orthopedics, physiology, physical therapy, kinesiology 
  • More Treatment: sports medicine, neurology, traumatology, neurosurgery and more
  • Hold that thought on Pain Clinic for adults - important information below


  • I think we should buy a school backpack as if our child is going camping
  • Consider to include a small Emergency Kit of Contact Information, bandaids, water 
  • Go for a backpack that is well-made
  • I think a backpack could be considered camping or sports activity equipment
  • Lightweight, good padding especially on the shoulders and lower back
  • Thick shoulder straps that don't tug on the clothes
  • Small compartments for separate items: distributes the weight
  • Compartments: allow for selection of items without digging or contortion
  • Hip strap: braces the pelvis and brings great stabilization to the spine
  • Never share a backpack with another child -you never know if there's lice
  • Wheels: now why didn't we think of that? Big wheels that go over bumps in the cement
  • Don't let the backpack go down to the buttocks
  • Help your child clean out her backpack each day, and each weekend, too
  • Check the manufacturer for regular cleaning. Don't want ticks hitching a ride
  • As with all prevention of low back pain, lift from the knees -keep back straight- not bent over

Image 4. Ergonomic Backpacks for School.
Child-friendly, rolling backpacks are quite a good remedy when used properly. 
No rides.
I think this is just as important as brushing your teeth. I just do.
Image Courtesy Under Armor.

And What about the Weight Max for a Child's Backpack?

According to Max Health, 

"For optimal spinal health, the American Chiropractic Association recommends a backpack that is 5-10% of your child’s weight. The weight of a backpack should not exceed 15% of the child’s body weight."

For Adult Back Pain - I Saved the Best for Last:
There you go!

So now as an adult, you have chronic back pain! You're in for a treat as #BackPainDay2016 is on 9/11 from 10 - 4 PST Live Streamed and FREE here: +Stanford Pain Medicine 

Look at all the comprehensive information to be given to health care professionals, Caregivers, Patients, Advocates, Invisible Illnesses, Chronic Pain, All (See Image 5):

Image 5. Stanford Back Pain Education Day, 2016. Twitter +Stanford Pain Medicine to keep up with real-time information! +Stanford Pain Medicine Tweets: 

"For those who cannot attend in-person, we will be live streaming #BackPainDay2016 for free! "

Be Blessed!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Copyright©️ 2016, Aranda MD Enterprises. All rights reserved. 
Medical Disclaimer: This article is not meant to provide medical advice, cure, or treatment. Always see your medical professional for persistent complaints. Likewise, seek medical treatment if your child has any persistent complaints. 

For Positive Parenting, I like to avoid saying, "It's all in your head." That's just me.
~ ~ ~ 

Dr Margaret Aranda is disabled after a tragic car accident left her bed-ridden for over 10 years now. She is a Public Figure in Patient Advocacy for Invisible Illnesses, having been told that her traumatic brain injuries (x 2), vertebral artery dissection and dysautonomia were not real. Please listen to your children and keep going to another specialist or referral if you suffer from persistent complaints. 

Dr Aranda says, "Thank you for reading my writings!"

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