A Different Way

to look at Life, Health, Business and Politics

Back to School, Backpacks & Scoliosis

Posted by Marietta chiropractor on August 11, 2008

Well, my kids started back to school today.  It’s time to get back together with friends, get back in the routine of studies and back to hauling a load of books home and back.

As a chiopractor, the idea of kids hauling as much as 40 pounds of books at a time is absolutely astounding.  First, carrying that amount of books is simply ridiculous.  But given the nature of a child’s growth and development, carrying that load is simply ridiculous.  The problem is espcially bad in middle school where most kids (particularly pre-teen girls) are experiencing growth spurts AND their skeletal structure is still developing.

Imagine holding a bowling ball directly over your shoulder.  As long as it sits on top of your shoulder, you could stand there all day long without a problem.  but, take that bowling ball just one inch forward or back and you start to strain the muscles and ligaments of the arm and shoulder.  Now, Image 3-4 times that weight pulling on one side of your child’s body, especially their neck, back and shoulders.  Backpacks and the load of books kids are expected to tote predispose them to back and neck problems, headaches and a host of other long-term problems.  And, the stress on the spine is very likely a major cause of idiopathic scoliosis in kids.

In this age of computers, it is absolutely shameful that heavy textbooks aren’t replaced with computer disks.  Heck, you could almost do away with dangerous backpacks if all a kid had to carry home was a CD.  And, think about the budget aspect of simply copying a CD instead of having to buy thosands of textbooks every year.

So, what can you do about backpacks and scoliosis?  A few things, actually.  You can petition your local school board to begin replacing textbooks (when possible) with CDs and DVDs.  It’s cheaper, reproducible and carry no risk of causing scoliosis in kids.  You could (should) get your child checked for scoliosis and other factors that can lead to it.  Obviously, I think the best place to do that is in the chiropractor’s office.  i recommend chiropractors because their focus is on preventing problems and correcting them as quicky and inexpensively as possible.  Other practitioners’ focus may be on treating the problem once it has already occurred.

Remember, “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree”.  Don’t predispose your child to a lifetime of potential health problems.  Get them checked today by your chiropractor.  And if you don’t have one, let me know.  I’ll find you one.

11 Responses to “Back to School, Backpacks & Scoliosis”

  1. jessica freeman said


    I really enjoyed reading your blog. Recently I was diagnosed with scoliosis and I have been looking on the net for all sort of information on non-surgical treatments for scoliosis. I found http://www.scoliosisspecialists.com the leading provider of the Spinecor brace. Spinecor has changed my life, it’s a soft, dynamic scoliosis brace and I recommend it to anyone with idiopathic scoliosis. Well anyways, I look forward to all the updates. Thanks again.


  2. Erika Davis said

    Backpacks DO NOT cause scoliosis. I have it, and I was born with it. Yes, scoliosis is more common in girls. But you don’t carry the backpack around all day. They have lockers for a reason. Lol. I had a spinal fusion in November 14, 2007 because my curves were 72*, 47*, and 23*. Backpacks don’t cause it, though. And if you’re THAT worried about it, they have scoliosis backpacks. I believe Jansport makes them, but I’m not sure.

    • drtim said

      Thanks for the note, Erika. Backpacks alone DON’T cause scoliosis, especially if you have a congenital scoliosis. However, if there is not a congenital malformation of the spine, there is no known cause. As you know, that’s what they call “idiopathic scoliosis”. That just means, the cause is unknown. There are many reasons why someone with no spinal defects might develop scoliosis. One could be that damage to the cervical spine at birth can cause postural problems later. Another is that abnormal stresses on the spine (like heavy bookbags during a young girl’s growth spurt) early in life could cause scoliosis. I’ve seen too many problems start in the preteen years that get corrected, to say that bookbags don’t contribute to scoliosis. That’s why I offer free scoliosis screenings.

      Thanks again. Have a great day!

  3. sam said

    thanks, this was extreamly helpful. im writing an essay about heavy backpacks for school an had trouble finding the details:)

    • drtim said

      Thanks Sam. Let me know if I can provide you with any information. let me know how you do on your essay.

      • Joy said

        Hi i have a report to and i was born with a rare back and sholder diformity but it was miss diegnosed with scoliosis and had to where that fome brace it was horrible:-(

  4. I don’t see why they have to carry so many books, surely the majority of them can be left at school. I suffered from Scoliosis when i was a teenager and eventually had surgery, but still suffered through later life. I now run Scoliosis of the Spine

  5. Idiopathic scoliosis is primarily a neurological condition that has its primary effect on the spine, rather than “just a spine condition”. With that in mind, it is no wonder scoliosis brace treatment and scoliosis surgery are becoming obsolete rather quickly. The advent of break through prognostic technologies like Scoliscore (genetic testing) and the soon-to-be-released scoliosis blood test are only going to increase the push for early stage scoliosis intervention scoliosis treatment technology as well. Fortunately, we are already well on our way towards prevention of the condition and hope to prove we can alter the natural course of the condition in even high risk genetically predisposed patients soon.

  6. Antonetta Berchielli said

    Under severe conditions, scoliosis maybe more damaging to the body since it can host other health problems. ^

    Remember to visit our very own webpage

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