Back to School: Dangers of heavy backpacks

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Students are heading back to school and not only does that mean getting up early and having a long list of homework, but lugging backpacks full of books and supplies.

Now, doctors are warning students and parents about the dangers of heavy backpacks.

Westchester Neurosurgeon Ezriel Kornel tells News 12 that carrying too much weight is causing kids to get back problems earlier in life. "The spine deteriorates and you can't create new spine tissue. It doesn't happen, so you want to preserve that healthy tissue as long as you can."

A lot of people know what he means. Dr. Kornel says in 2018, almost 51,000 people were seen for backpack-related injuries. "You can develop problems with the joints in your spine and what that leads to is back pain, neck pain, but more significantly, you can get a herniated disc that presses on a nerve that gives pain down the leg."

Kornel advises to follow a few tips so you don't become part of the statistic. He recommends packing heavy items low and toward the center of the backpack.  If it's too heavy, carry some books in your arms. When lifting a backpack, make sure to bend at the knees.

Make sure to tighten the straps so the backpack is close to the back and the bottom of it sits along the lower back.

Perhaps the most important tip is to always use both shoulder straps.

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