Backpacks & Spine Health | Pain Management | East Texas

The Connection Between Backpacks & Spine Health

Back to school is here for East Texas students. Many students will be walking to and from school, as well as all around school, with heavy backpacks full of books and learning materials. All parents should be aware and monitor the weight of their child’s backpack throughout the year. Backpacks and spine health go hand-in-hand – too much weight carried on the back can lead to additional muscle stress and back pain. If you have questions about the weight of your child’s backpack, please contact the pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

Backpack Safety

One of the most exciting things about back to school is a child being able to pick out the latest style of backpacks. Backpacks have changed over the years and the majority of them now come with various compartments that help a child stay organized with school work, sports and after-school activities.

When worn correctly with the appropriate weight, the weight carried in the pack is evenly distributed across the body, reducing the risk of muscle and joint stress. It is important to note backpacks are commonly recommended by pain management doctors because they have the ability to be supported by the back and abdominal muscles, unlike messenger bags, shoulder bags and large totes.

Backpacks & Spine Health – What to Know as a Parent

Textbooks have gotten bigger and bigger over the years and more and more additional learning materials are necessary for each class. This combination leads to more weight being carried in backpacks each and every school day.

In a large study, it was found that over 33% of children between the ages of 11-14 years reported some level of back pain and discomfort. The students who carried heavier backpacks reported more back pain than the students who carried lighter backpacks. Many medical professionals agree that heavy backpacks can lead to spinal injuries including muscle fatigue, lumbar curvature and lumbar disc compression.

Backpacks and spine health are strongly connected in students of all ages. Heavy weight in backpacks can cause:

  • Rounding of the shoulders
  • Walking while leaning forward
  • Distortion of the back’s natural curve leading to muscle strain and joint irritation

The back pain and discomfort caused by a backpack too heavy can usually be alleviated with reduced activity and/or rest. Pain management doctors often recommend that backpack weight should be limited to 10-15% of the child’s body weight in order to reduce the risk of spinal injuries.

How to Avoid Back Pain Associated with a Backpack

This school year, follow these recommendations to help your child reduce the risk of back pain and spinal injuries:

  • Choose a backpack with:
    • Lightweight material and a padded back
    • Two padded, wide and adjustable shoulder straps
    • Individualized compartments

Teach your child how to properly wear and load their backpack:

  • Use both shoulder straps at all times
  • Pack heaviest items first so they are carried lower in the body
  • Fill compartments evenly
  • Do not lean forward when walking
  • Lift the backpack with leg muscles and not the back

If you live in the East Texas area and would like additional information on backpacks and spine health, please contact the pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler today.


Youth Sports Injuries | Pain Management Doctors | East Texas

Youth Sports Injuries Overview

A new school year is right around the corner for students in the East Texas area. This means competitive sports will be in full swing. According to the CDC, participation in organized sports continues to rise. Unfortunately, this increase in participation has also led to a rise in youth sports injuries. The pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to treat a number of common sports injuries this school year in East Texas youth.

Statistics of Youth Sports Injuries

According to STOP Sports Injuries, a leading online source of information for youth sports injury education and prevention, nearly 30 million children and adolescents in the United States participate in youth sports each year. Many of these young athletes will become injured while competing in school-related sports. Here are some surprising statistics:

  • More than 3.5 million children under the age of 14 years receive medical treatment each year for a sports injury.
  • Children between the ages of 5-14 years account for about 40% of all sports injuries treated in a hospital.
  • High school athletes account for approximately 2 million youth sports injuries each year.
  • Overuse injuries are responsible for about half of all injuries in middle and high school athletes.
  • More than half of all youth sports injuries are preventable according to the CDC.

Most Common Youth Sports Injuries

School-related competitive sports provide a number of social and physical benefits, but they also bring the risk of sports injuries. The most commonly diagnosed youth sports injuries include:

  • A sprain to a ligament or a strain to a muscle. An ankle sprain is the most common sprain/strain found in young athletes.
  • Repetitive motion injuries caused by joint overuse, including tendonitis, stress fractures and bursitis.
  • Growth plate injuries- The growth plate is the area of developing tissues located at the end of the long bones in children and adolescents who are still growing. When growth is complete, these growth plates are replaced by solid bone.

Preventing Youth Sports Injuries

Prevention is key when it comes to many youth sports injuries. If your child is involved in sports, it is important to enroll the child in athletic teams that have coaches and staff who are trained in first aid and/or have athletic trainers. The proper sized equipment should always be used at practice and at game time. Make sure your child receives the proper amount of rest and recovery in order to eliminate the risk of overuse injuries.

Treating Youth Sports Injuries with the Help of Pain Management Doctors

If an injury occurs in a young athlete, it is highly recommended they receive medical attention from a pain management doctor immediately. ‘Playing through the pain’ is not a proper approach since the body is still developing and growing in many young athletes. Ignoring a simple injury can often lead to a chronic joint condition.

Treatment for youth sports injuries varies depending on the injury present. Many sports injuries involve soft tissue injuries, such as a sprain or strain, or a simple bone injury that can be easily treated with the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method. A pain management doctor is able to provide detailed instructions on the proper RICE method to each patient. In more severe injuries, pain management injections or physical therapy may be necessary to alleviate symptoms while the body heals.

For additional information on preventing and treating youth sports injuries, please contact the East Texas pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler today.

Shingles | Pain Management | Tyler Texas

An Overview of Shingles

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash that most commonly occurs in older adults and individuals with weakened immune systems. This health condition causes individuals to experience numerous unwanted symptoms including headaches, itching, pain and blisters. If an individual in the Tyler, Texas area believes they are experiencing shingles, it is best to contact a healthcare provider immediately. The painful symptoms improve with early intervention. The pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to assist individuals suffering from this condition at their East Texas practice.

What is Shingles?

Shingles is characterized as a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The health condition is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus responsible for chickenpox. After an individual has chickenpox, usually in their younger years, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue around the brain and spinal cord. If the virus reactivates in later years, the virus is known as shingles.

A person cannot catch shingles from someone else who has the condition. It is important to note there is a small chance a person with an active shingles rash can spread the virus to another person who has not had chickenpox.

What are Shingles Symptoms?

Shingles typically occurs in older adults over the age of 50 years, as well as individuals with a weakened immune system caused by injury, stress or certain medications.

Shingles occurs in various stages. The first stage is marked by light sensitivity and headaches. Many people also report flu-like symptoms, but with no fever. Later, the condition causes pain, itching or tingling in a certain area. This is the area where a band, strip or small area of rash develops after a few days. The rash will then turn into blisters, followed by the blisters filling with fluid and crusting over. It usually takes 2-4 weeks for the blisters to heal.

Shingles can also cause certain individuals to experience weakness, dizziness and changes in vision.

Pain Management and Treatment for Shingles

It is very important East Texas residents call a physician immediately if they believe they are experiencing the onset of shingles symptoms. The health condition is better treated with almost immediate medical attention.

Shingles is treated with medicines, including antiviral medications and pain medications. Typical medications include Zovirax, Valtrex and Famvir. Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are also commonly prescribed.

Other pain management treatments include Capsaicin cream, numbing agents and corticosteroid injections.

People with shingles can expect the condition to last between 2-6 weeks. In many cases, a person only experiences shingles one time, but it is possible to have the condition flare up more than once.

For additional information on shingles, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain management practice of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.