Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Northeastern Professor Warns Big Backpacks Cause Big Back Pains

Date:
August 13, 2004
Source:
Northeastern University
Summary:
Beyond the obvious academic stress that September brings, heading back to school may literally be a pain in the neck for students. The burden of a heavy backpack can eventually lead to the more serious problems of chronic back pain and scoliosis, according to NU physical therapy professor Mary Hickey.

BOSTON, Mass. -- Beyond the obvious academic stress that September brings, heading back to school may literally be a pain in the neck for students. The burden of a heavy backpack can eventually lead to the more serious problems of chronic back pain and scoliosis, according to NU physical therapy professor Mary Hickey. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, backpacks should weigh no more than 15 percent of the carriers' total body weight. However, Hickey recommends that backpacks weigh in at no more than a tenth of a child's body weight.

Related Articles


"Kids who use backpacks often use them incorrectly and to their physical detriment," she says. "Big bags can have a lasting physical impact on developing skeletal systems and posture."

Hickey conducted a research study on the physically damaging affects of heavy backpacks after witnessing her own children strain under the weight of their schoolbooks. About 70 percent of the middle school students in her experiment were lugging around a backpack that was harmful to their growing bodies. While small kids hauling around 25-pound backpacks is a common sight in elementary, middle and high school hallways, according to Hickey's computation, only a 200-pound person can safely carry a bag of this size.

"The most important thing for parents to know is that there are simple ways to prevent kids from permanently damaging their backs," Hickey explains. Hickey offers some advice for parents to keep in mind, especially while shopping for back-to-school gear:

* As a rule, kids should never carry a bag that weighs more than 10% of their body weight. This rule applies to all students, no matter what age. "If your child is unable to stand up straight with the pack on, the load is too heavy," explains Hickey.

* Remind your kids about the value of lockers. Reducing backpack poundage will prevent any serious back pain in the future.

* The bigger the bag, the more stuff kids will cram into it. Purchase a smaller backpack that will only fit the bare necessities. This will prevent kids from lugging around those leftovers from lunch, notes passed in math class, or half-melted chapsticks.

* Periodically remind your child to clean out trash and remove old papers and homework.

School nurses can also lend a hand by encouraging kids to keep their bags light and warn them of the potential danger heavy backpack may cause their growing bodies. Librarians can also protect young spines by keeping a set of school textbooks on reserve to lighten the backpack load on the way to and from school.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northeastern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northeastern University. "Northeastern Professor Warns Big Backpacks Cause Big Back Pains." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812051510.htm>.
Northeastern University. (2004, August 13). Northeastern Professor Warns Big Backpacks Cause Big Back Pains. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812051510.htm
Northeastern University. "Northeastern Professor Warns Big Backpacks Cause Big Back Pains." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/08/040812051510.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins