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Back to School Alert: Backpack Pain

Backpacks are an essential, but sometimes painful, item for school.
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 is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

He says year after year he gets the same complaints from mothers whose school children complain of back pain.

Dr. Siambanes says "clearly the picture of their child drudging this huge backpack with every book available was alarming."

These complaints prompted Dr. Siambanes to conduct a study on the link between backpacks and back pain. He found that 64% of the students in the study complained of having back pain. 41% reported the pain when carrying their backpack. And 50% say they experienced relief from the pain when they took off their backpack.

So what's causing the pain.

Dr. Siambanes says it is simple: it's how much the backpack weighs.

Dr. Siambanes says "it's important to choose the right backpack, but it's more important to choose what's in the backpack."

The doctor says there's no a magic number. But there is a general formula parents should follow. The doctor says a child's backpack should not weigh more than 10% to 15% of their weight. So if a child weighs 100 pounds, the backpack should not weigh more than 15 pounds.
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