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Each school year millions of children walk to, from, and around school carrying backpacks filled with books and materials. 

Backpacks allow a person to carry more items than would be possible by the arms and hands alone. The risk, however, is overload, which can strain the back, neck, or shoulders.

The back will compensate for any load applied to it for an extended period of time.  A heavy weight carried on the back can:

  • Cause a person to lean forward, reduce balance, and make it easier to fall.
  • Distort the natural curves in the middle and lower back, causing muscle strain and irritation to the spine joints and rib cage.
  • Cause rounding of the shoulders.

Habitually carrying a load over one shoulder will make muscles strain to compensate for the uneven weight. The spine leans to the opposite side, stressing the middle back, ribs, and lower back more on one side than the other.  This type of muscle imbalance can cause muscle strain, muscle spasm, and back pain in the short term and speed the development of back problems later in life if not corrected.  The weight can also pull on the neck muscles, contributing to headache, neck pain, and arm pain.

Following a Few Guidelines can Help Avoid this type of Pain:

  • It is important to use both shoulder straps. Wear the backpack properly.  Keeping the weight close to the body helps the spine stay aligned and evenly distributes the weight on both shoulders.
  • Tighten the shoulder straps so that the backpack is sitting right at the hip. If the pack hangs down below the hips, it will pull down and cause pain in the shoulders and upper back.
  • Keep the weight at 10 to 15 percent of your child’s body weight. Example:  if your child weighs 100 lbs., the backpack should weight no more than 15 lbs.; preferably 10 lbs. 

Back pain is more common in older adolescents, especially with heavy backpacks, but younger children can also experience pain. If the pain persists after you lighten your child’s backpack load or if the pain is severe, this may be sign of spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, or disc herniation.  It is advised that you have your child evaluated by a pediatrician, family doctor, or orthopaedic spine specialist to be sure there is no other cause.

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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Thank you very much for contacting Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

To best serve your individual needs, please choose from the following options:

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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