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Within this page, you will find Industry Perspective blogs written by the UCA Corporate Support Partners (CSP); Insights from UCA CEO Laurel Stoimenoff, PT, CHC; Practice Management blogs to help you better manage center operations; and bonus UCA education in Educational Insights.

EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS: Pediatric Practice Pearls – “Back to School and Oh My Aching Back”

Posted: Sep 18, 2019
Comments: 0
Author: UCA Admin

Content provided by Thomas W. Tryon, MD, MBA, FAAP; UCA Pediatric Section Chair

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year with the end of the major league baseball season and the start of college and professional football. It is a fun time of the year. It also signals the return of children to school, a very exciting time for most children. For some parents, that is a relief while for others it’s poignant.

While “back-to-school” care would seem to be more important to primary care than urgent care providers, one of the side effects we will see from kids returning to school is children coming in to urgent care complaining of back pain. Often the back pain is related to children wearing a backpack with too much weight in it, wearing it incorrectly, or not wearing the proper backpack. I remember one start of the school year when one of my children started complaining of back pain. When I lifted her backpack, I was shocked at how heavy it was. I actually weighed it to find that there were 30 pounds of books in the backpack being carried by my 60-pound daughter.

What advice can we give to parents? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a wonderful health and safety tip sheet called “Back to School Tips on Getting the Year Off to a Good Start” (https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Back-to-School-Tips-Getting-the-Year-Off-to-a-Good-Start-from-the-AAP.aspx). According to the AAP, it is important for parents to:


  • Choose a backpack with a padded back and wide padded straps.
  • Adjust the pack so that the bottom sits on your child’s waist.
  • Remind your child to always use both shoulder straps. (I commonly find that most kids with back pain from a heavy backpack are only using one shoulder strap).
  • Pack light and use all of the backpack compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back.
  • Limit the backpack’s weight based on the child’s size. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
  • Consider asking the school about the permissibility and acceptability of a rolling backpack if a child must tote a heavy load. While it may help, there may be difficulties with getting the rolling backpack through snow and it may need to be carried upstairs.

I trust each of you will enjoy the fall season and the upcoming holidays as we prepare for another busy winter. Pack lighter; go further.


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