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How overloaded school bags lead to functional scoliosis

ALPENA, Mich. – Here’s a warning for students who may potentially suffer from back pain. Consistently lugging an overweight backpack can lead to multiple health conditions.

By the time class lets out, students bare the weight of carrying textbooks and other items across their backs.

“Two straps is always better than one,” said doctor of physical therapy Eve Van Eck. “Most kids nowadays will use one strap even if two straps are available and I have to advise against that completely.”

Overloaded backpacks can have adverse health affects in school age children. It can lead to pain around the neck, shoulders and back. And even nerve damage if students aren’t carrying the right kind of backpack.

Van Eck said most experts agree that anything over 10–15% of your body weight is too heavy. Heavy enough to cause to functional scoliosis.

“Visually, you can see if an individual is having a hard time picking up or putting down a backpack,” said the physical therapist. “Or you can see a postural change once they put the backpack on. Chances are it’s doing damage to your spine.”

The best solution is to pack light.

“You want to make sure you’re not bringing things to school or leaving school with things you really don’t need.”

Student who can’t avoid the heavy sack should carry heavier books in their arms to offset the weight.

Van Eck said even if students wear their backpacks properly, if they’re hunched over, that’s a sign the bag is too heavy. It could lead to future back problems.