Accessibility View Close toolbar

42 Valley Road

Middletown, RI 02842 US

(401) 847-8889

Open mobile navigation

Back(pack) to school

Your child's return to classes doesn't have to be a pain

If you think these hot, humid temperatures are enough to weigh you down, imagine how the school kids must feel with a bunch of books on their backs.

While bearing the load of books isn't likely to cause a heat stroke, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) says parents should be concerned about upper body injuries.

Backpacks are the leading cause of back and shoulder pain for millions of children and adolescents each year according to the ACA, an association that represents doctors of chiropractic. And children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, the group says.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) also warns parents that bags that are too heavy or are worn incorrectly could injure a child's bones, muscles and joints.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's latest statistics, about 10,000 children aged 19 and under were treated at hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices and clinics for backpack-related injuries in 2005. Injuries such as tripping and falling or getting hit by a backpack are common. A large number of these injuries -- particularly chronic complaints such as those seen by orthopedic surgeons -- include strains to the shoulder, neck and back from carrying a backpack.

"Injury can occur when a child who is trying to adapt to a heavy load uses faulty posture such as arching the back, bending forward or leaning to one side," said James H. Beaty, MD, first vice president of the AAOS, on the organization's Web site.

"A backpack load that is too heavy also causes muscles and soft tissues to work harder, leaving the neck, shoulders and back more vulnerable to injury," he said.

The doctors agree that the backpack itself is not the culprit. Children simply haven't been shown proper methods of packing, lifting and carrying their backpacks.

Overloading seems to be the chief culprit in backpack-related injuries. The ACA says a child's book bag should weigh no more than 10 percent of his or her body weight, and parents should aim for only 5 percent.

The way a child wears his backpack can also be detrimental to his physical well-being. The carryall should never hang more than 4 inches below the waistline. Wearing it too low can cause a child to lean forward when walking.

Even packing the child's tote properly is important. Where you put the heavy stuff does make a difference. Doctors suggest placing the heavy items in the big compartment close to the body, where the weight won't cause as much of a shift to the center of the body mass. Remember to place pointed objects or those with sharp corners facing away from the back.

Another way to keep the load even on the body is to make sure the child uses both straps. This is one of the biggest mistakes children make, according to the ACA. Slinging the bag over one shoulder puts more strain on one side of the body which leads to neck and low-back pain. If a parent notices their child using one strap constantly, then the parent should consider purchasing a sling bag, designed to be carried across the body.

Finally, parents can also talk to teachers about the load of books their child is carrying. Ask if heavier books can be left at school or if a set can be left at home. Ask the teacher if class time is provided at school for homework and if your child is taking full advantage of it.   To address the growing trend of injuries in young children from backpacks, doctors of chiropractic have banned together to create Backpack Safety America/International, an eight-step prevention program to train parents, students and teachers in the correct way to use backpacks.

You can find out more about Backpack Safety America by visiting


We look forward to hearing from you

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule


8:00 am - 12:00 pm

3:00 pm - 6:00 pm



3:00 pm - 6:00 pm


8:00 am - 12:00 pm

3:00 pm - 6:00 pm


8:00 am - 12:00 pm

3:00 pm - 6:00 pm


8:00 am - 12:00 pm









Find us on the map


Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Very sweet folks, kind, caring, empathetic, accomodating, and Dr. Lalli has miracle hands. They have been a blessing for my family and myself. Thank you!"
    Ummeh I.

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Should I Use Ice or Heat for Pain?

    Did you hurt your knee during an intense game of pick-up basketball this weekend? Or do you deal with chronic pain? Learn whether you should apply heat or ice for particular kinds of pain. ...

    Read More
  • Relationship with Self

    The relationship you have with yourself and the journey to self-understanding is an important part of your overall wellness. ...

    Read More
  • Indoor Activities and Exercises

    Are you preparing for the winter months or looking for exercises to do when you can't make it to the gym? Follow these exercises to maintain a healthy fitness routine. ...

    Read More
  • Holiday Stress - Take a Deep Breath

    Most of us pay little attention, if any, to the daily functioning of our many physiological systems. Our hearts beat, our digestive systems digest, and our various hormones, such as those deriving from the thyroid gland, adrenal gland, and pancreas, do what they do. It's all good... until it's not. ...

    Read More
  • Proper Overindulgence Over the Holidays

    Proper Overindulgence Over The Holidays The term "overindulgence" is probably best assessed as a red flag, especially with respect to consistent overconsumption of high-calorie comfort food and desserts during the holiday season. An overall healthier perspective could be described as "indulgence" regarding ...

    Read More
  • The 5 Senses

    The 5 Senses The five senses, that is, the sense of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell, provide us with necessary information regarding the world around us.1 These precious capabilities enable us to navigate our environment with seemingly instantaneous feedback with reference to our actions and ...

    Read More
  • The Benefits of Sleep for Adults

    Obtaining sufficient restful sleep is an essential requirement for optimal human productivity. Such a practice is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, which includes a nutritious diet, regular vigorous exercise, and a positive mental attitude. How much sleep one needs varies from person to person. ...

    Read More
  • Back to School and Mental Wellness

    Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of ...

    Read More
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

    A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be ...

    Read More
  • Left-Handers Day

    Left-Handers Day Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. ...

    Read More


Sign up for more articles