Backpacks that are too heavy may cause pain - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Backpacks that are too heavy may cause pain

TAMPA, FL  (WFLA/NBC) - As students make their way back to school, doctors are warning about health problems that may be caused by something they carry everyday - their backpack.

Backpacks are an essential back-to-school item, but they can be a real pain to students.

Dr. David Siambanes, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, said year after year he gets the same complaints from mothers whose school children complain of back pain.

"Clearly the picture of their child drudging this huge back pack with every book available was alarming," he said.

These complaints prompted Siambanes to conduct a study on the link between back packs and back pain.

He found that 64 percent of the students in the study complained of having back pain and another 41 percent reported the pain when carrying their backpack. Half of them said they experienced relief from the pain when they took off their backpack.

Siambanes said what's causing the pain is simple - it's how much the backpack weighs.

"It's important to choose the right backpack, but it's more important to choose what's in the back pack," he said.

The doctor said there's no a magic number,  but there is a general formula parents should follow.

A child's backpack should not weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of their weight. So if a child weighs 100 pounds, the backpack should not weigh more than 15 pounds.

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