8/15/2021Is Being Back at School Causing Pain?

Summer has been great.  You’ve relaxed, hung out with friends, played some sports and enjoyed the slower pace. But now it’s back to early mornings and a busy schedule all day.   If there’s anything you didn’t miss all summer, it was probably toting around a heavy backpack all day.  With several days now under your belt, you may start feeling a tightness in your neck and shoulders.  Did you know carrying a heavy backpack can cause back and neck problems?

Here’s how:

  • By putting a heavy weight on your shoulders in the wrong way, the weight’s force can pull you backward. So people who carry heavy backpacks sometimes lean forward. Because of the heavy weight and this unnatural position, they can develop shoulder, neck, and back pain.
  • If you wear your backpack over just one shoulder, or carry your books in a messenger bag, you may end up leaning to one side to offset the extra weight. You might develop lower and upper back pain and strain your shoulders and neck.
  • Tight, narrow straps that dig into your shoulders can cause tingling, numbness, and weakness in your arms and hands.
  • Carrying a heavy pack can make people more likely to fall, particularly on stairs or other places where the backpack puts the wearer off balance.

What Can Help Minimize This?

  • Use both shoulder straps. Bags that are slung over the shoulder or across the chest, or that only have one strap, may strain muscles.
  • Tighten the straps enough for the backpack to fit closely to the body. The pack should rest evenly in the middle of the back and not sag down to the butt.
  • Picking up the backpack the right way can help you avoid back injuries. As with any heavy weight, bend at the knees and grab the pack with both hands when lifting a backpack to the shoulders.

What Should I Do If This Doesn’t Help?

Seeing a physical therapist can help alleviate the tension and pain in your neck and shoulder with a technique called Dry Needling.

Dry needling is a technique physical therapists use for the treatment of pain and movement impairments.  The technique uses a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle.

Other terms commonly used to describe dry needling, include trigger point dry needling, and intramuscular manual therapy.

Dry needling is not acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles and supported by research.

Physical therapists use dry needling to release or inactivate trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion. Preliminary research 2 supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles. This can help speed up the patient’s return to active rehabilitation.

Visit with one of our PTs to see if Dry Needling is a good fit for eliminating your pain.

*Sourced from ChoosePT.com.  Read entire article HERE.

*Sources from KidsHealth.org. Read entire article HERE.

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