Keep It Light Using a Backpack Safely With the school season upon us, our kids are showing off their new duds, including backpacks. While backpacks are an efficient and easy way for kids to transport books and supplies to and from school, they may also be weighing them down. In a study conducted by PT Shelley Goodgold, 55 percent of children carried loads that were more than 15 percent of their body weight — the maximum recommended by most experts. When backpacks are too heavy or don’t fit properly, they can cause back pain, shoulder pain, and poor posture, especially in youth with growing muscles and joints. How can you make sure a backpack isn’t causing your child pain? Ask them how their backpack feels, and check to see that it doesn’t leave behind any red marks. The American Physical Therapy Association has compiled some additional recommendations to make sure your student is sporting that new pack safely. WHAT’S THE WEIGHT? To see if your child’s backpack is in line with experts’ recommendation of weighing no more
than 15 percent of a child’s body weight, use an at-home scale to weigh their pack with all their school supplies inside. If the backpack goes above the 15 percent rule, reconsider what’s inside. There’s no need for kids to carry their entire life in it. Nonessential items can be left at home, and a locker or cubby can provide safekeeping for books and supplies at school. Give backpacks a “detox” at the end of each week by cleaning them out to prevent the buildup of items. FIND THE RIGHT SIZE. Backpacks shouldn’t be too wide or hang more than four inches below the waist. Look for adjustable backpacks that are made to properly fit your child. Ergonomic designs can also make for a more comfortable fit. Physical therapists
recommend hip straps, as they take some of the weight off the shoulders and back, and using both shoulder straps keeps weight distributed more evenly. CONSIDER ACCESSORIES. Certain accessories, like reflective patches, increase visibility. Padding along the shoulder straps and back is also helpful for comfort. Other accessories, like wheels, can do more harm than good — while they take the weight off the back, they can create a tripping hazard in crowded school corridors and bus lines. If you have questions related to back and shoulder health, reach out to Elite PT. Our physical therapists are here to help the whole family live every day pain-free!
Have a Laugh!
Beans and Greens Rigatoni
Salt, for pasta water and to taste 2 ounces fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounces rigatoni pasta
1 bunch Tuscan kale, rinsed
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans
Juice of 1 lemon
Directions 1. In a large stock pot, boil 6 quarts of liberally salted water. On another burner, heat a large skillet to medium-low. 2. Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes less than the package recommends. 3. While pasta is cooking, add beans, red
4. Add cooked pasta, kale, and 1 cup pasta water to skillet. Toss vigorously as kale cooks, about 4 minutes. 5. Transfer to bowls, top with a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle with cheese or salt, and serve.
pepper, and 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Elite PT • (318) 443-3311 • 3
Inspired by Bon Appétit Magazinewww.elitephysicaltherapy.us
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