Details for Ask the Professional 8/25

ask a Professional Sarah Pettyjohn, PT, DPT Q: School is starting soon, and I am worried about my son’s heavy backpack. What can I do to make sure it isn’t hurting him? A: You’re right, backpacks are meant to fit a certain way and when worn improperly can cause issues including numbness in the arms, headaches, and shoulder, back, and neck pain. Here are 3 tips from the American Physical Therapy Association. 1. Wear both straps. Use of one strap causes one side of the body to bear the weight of the backpack. By wearing two shoulder straps, the weight of the backpack is better distributed across the shoulders. 2. Wear the backpack over the strongest mid-back muscles. Pay close attention to the way the backpack is positioned on the back. It should rest evenly in the middle of the back. Shoulder straps should be adjusted to allow the child to put on and take off the backpack without difficulty and allow free movement of the arms. Straps should not be too loose, and the backpack should not extend below the low back. 3. Lighten the load to no more than 10-15% of the child’s bodyweight. Carry only those items that are required for the day or find a new lightweight backpack. Organize the contents of the backpack by placing the heaviest items closest to the back. Some students have two sets of books so as not to have to carry the heavy books to and from school. A backpack with wheels can also help if the child must carry greater than 15% of their bodyweight. Sundog Rehabilitation, llC Serving Rapid Valley and Custer locations! 605-787-2719 www.sundogrehab.com - Most Insurance Accepted

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