Rucksack Paralysis Can Be Permanent

DALLAS, Sept. 9 (UPI) — Good students lug around books and while they may get good grades they may also get back strain and nerve damage, a U.S. spine specialist says.

Dr. Kevin Gill, an orthopedic surgeon and co-director of the Spine Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says a condition called Rucksack Paralysis — symptoms include pain and tingling in the hands and arms — is caused by the strain on shoulders and arms and the problem can become permanent if students continue to sport packs that are too heavy.

“If the child is straining or slouching, that is a sign the pack’s too heavy,” Gill says in a statement. “You can often lighten the load by ensuring that kids don’t carry anything in their packs that isn’t necessary.”

Gill also recommends avoiding slinging a backpack over just one shoulder.

“Use a pack with a waistband and carry it with both straps to distribute the load,” Gill says. “Or you may want to consider a rolling backpack or luggage cart — if the school allows it.”

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