By Dana McGill, PTA, Tulsa Bone & Joint Bartlesville
Backpacks are a popular and practical way for children and teenagers to carry schoolbooks and supplies. They are designed to distribute the weight of the load among some of the body’s strongest muscles. When used correctly, backpacks can be a good way to carry the necessities of the school day.
Tips for Parents
Parents can help ensure their child’s safety by doing the following:
• Encourage your child or teenager to tell you about any numbness, tingling, or discomfort in the arms or legs. These symptoms may indicate poor backpack fit or too much weight being carried.
• Watch your child put on and take off the backpack to see if it is a struggle. If the backpack seems too heavy, have your child remove some of the books and carry them in his or her arms to ease the load on the back.
• Do not ignore any back pain in a child or teenager.
• Encourage your child to stop at his or her locker when time permits throughout the day to drop off or exchange heavier books.
• If your child has back pain that does not improve, consider buying a second set of textbooks to keep at home.
Start With an Ergonomic Backpack
When selecting a backpack, look for:
• An appropriate size: A backpack should not be wider than your child’s torso or hang more than 4 inches below the waist
• Padded, adjustable shoulder straps to help distribute the weight on your child’s back without digging into their shoulders
• Padded back to protect against contents inside the backpack poking into your child’s back
• Waist and chest straps to help distribute the weight of the backpack more evenly across your child’s back
• Multiple compartments to help position the weight more effectively
• Compression straps to stabilize the contents
• Reflective material to allow your child to be seen when walking to and from school
Use the Backpack Correctly
Check the fit of the backpack:
• Make sure your child uses both straps when carrying the backpack; using one strap shifts the weight to one side and causes muscle pain and posture problems.
• Make certain the shoulder straps are tightened so the backpack is fitted to your child’s back; a dangling backpack can cause spinal misalignment and pain.
• Encourage your child to use the chest, waist and compression straps, and to adjust them to the load.
• Organize the items inside so that heavier items are low and towards the center of the backpack.
A roomy backpack may seem like a good idea, but the more space there is to fill, the more likely your child will fill it. Help your child determine what is absolutely necessary to carry. If it’s not essential, have them leave it at home, in their locker or in the classroom.
Teach your child to load the backpack with the heaviest items first closest to the bottom and the center of the back of the backpack and to make use of the multiple compartments to distribute the load.
What about Backpacks on Wheels?
According to the ACA, rolling backpacks should be used “cautiously and on a limited basis by only those students who are not physically able to carry a backpack.” The reason? They clutter school corridors, replacing a potential back injury hazard with a tripping hazard.
So, pick up that backpack from time to time, and let your children know you’ve got their back.
Tulsa Bone & Joint Associates is pleased to welcome Major Christopher Wild, MD. Dr. Wild is a general orthopedic surgeon who will be seeing patients at our main campus in Tulsa. His interests include knee, hip and shoulder replacements, arthroscopy of the shoulder and knee, and fracture care. Dr. Wild has privileges at Ascension St. John Medical Center and Ascension St. John Broken Arrow.
Dr. Wild is a native of Tulsa, graduating from Union High School in 2005. After completing his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State and medical training at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Wild spent five years in Orthopaedic Surgery Residency at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. During this time, he trained with surgeons at Miami Valley Hospital, the Dayton VA Medical Center and Dayton Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Wild then entered active duty service with the Air Force as a Captain. He was soon promoted to Major and spent most of his time taking care of soldiers, retirees and their dependents as the Orthopaedic Surgery Element Leader at Wright-Patterson Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. During his service, Dr. Wild was deployed to Afghanistan for six months, where he served as Chief of Orthopaedics at Craig Joint Theatre Hospital at Bagram Airfield during June to November 2020.
Tulsa Bone & Joint is pleased to welcome Dr. Wild back to Tulsa. We are thrilled he has chosen to join our growing practice of musculoskeletal physicians.
By Haylee Stockard, DPT
Many people have jobs that require people to be at a desk or be sedentary for long periods of time. Whether you work from home or are in an office all day you may have lots of meetings, computer work, and have to sit for long periods of time. Sitting for long periods of time may cause you to have some increased aching in your muscles, and cause you to have some increased neck and back pain. Ergonomic workstations are a good idea to help with these symptoms but they can get pretty expensive. Stretching is an easy and cost effective way that can help relieve some discomfort you may have from sitting for long periods of time.
Here are stretches/exercises you can do easily at your desk to help improve overall mobility:
Upper Trap Stretch
Start seated in your chair with your arms at your side. Grasp under the chair with your hand on the side you want to stretch. Slowly bend your neck to the side you are not holding on to the chair with, bringing your ear to your shoulder. You should feel a stretch in the side of your neck. If you want to increase the intensity of the stretch you can place your opposite arm on your head and gently pull your head further toward your opposite shoulder. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
Start seated in your chair or standing, interlock your fingers behind your head. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and move your elbows backward. You can stretch different parts of the chest if you vary the height of your hands. You can target shoulders and/or chest (hands behind head, hands on top of head, hand a few inches above head). Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
Side Bend Stretch
Start seated in your chair, and maintain an upright posture. Reach your right arm up and overhead, reach and side bend to the left, you should feel a stretch along the right side of your body. Return to starting position. Repeat with left arm up and overhead, reach and sidebend toward the right, you should feel a stretch along the left side of your body. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
Seated Lumbar Flexion Stretch
Start seated at the edge of your chair. Spread your legs just outside of shoulder width. Place both hands between your legs and gently lean forward and let your lower back bend. You should feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.
Start seated in your chair. Place one leg out in front of you and straighten it so that the knee is straight and the heel is resting on the ground with the toes pointed up. Slowly lean forward, hinging at your hips, and place your hands on your thigh. You should feel a stretch in the back of your leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
Seated Piriformis Stretch
Start seated in your chair. Cross your leg with the ankle of one foot on the knee of the other leg. Pull the top knee upward towards your opposite shoulder. You should feel a stretch in the hip of your leg that is crossed. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
Wrist Flexor Stretch
Hold one arm out in front of you with your elbow straight and your palm facing up toward the ceiling. Grasp your hand with the other hand, and slowly bend the wrist downward so that the fingers are pointing toward the floor. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
Wrist Extensor Stretch
Hold one arm out in front of you with your elbow straight and your palm facing down toward the floor. Grasp your hand with the other hand, and slowly bend the fingers/hand back toward you until you feel a stretch through your wrist/forearm. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
Aim to hold these stretches for about 20-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. Stretching to the point of slight discomfort is ok but we do not want these to be painful. Remember, these are just suggestions and If you are having any pain with these stretches discontinue and contact a medical professional to see if they can address your pain.
Remember to take breaks throughout the day at work to help reduce sitting in one position for long periods of time. One easy way to help remind yourself to take breaks is to set a timer or reminder to perform these stretches at your desk or work space or to get up and take a short walk.
By Steffen Hess, PTA, Tulsa Bone & Joint Bartlesville
When you think of surgery, do you first think about pain or pain relief? What if there was a way to have pain relief and to help your recovery process before you have surgery? For many, being told you need to have surgery can be a scary notion to accept. For those who have lived extended periods of time with pain, surgery can be a way to see some normalcy or regain their independence in the future.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapy before surgery (pre-hab) can help to improve mobility, improve the patient’s range of motion, increase stamina, help to reduce pain, improve balance, and speed up recovery time.
When entering a pre-hab program, a patient will meet with a physical therapist (PT) that will talk to them about what they should expect from not only therapy but also what they should expect after surgery. A pre-hab program will include therapeutic exercises that will help to rebuild muscles that may have been neglected or have atrophied over the years. Muscular imbalances in the body can cause increased joint pressure and premature wear and tear on the cartilage in our joints, causing pain.
Some of the exercises in a pre-hab program will also help with flexibility. Working on flexibility and rebuilding muscle will increase the patient’s mobility and will help start to alleviate pain. The PT will also give the patients tests to measure their range of motion. Pre-hab exercises before surgery can help to reduce muscle loss, decreased range of motion and may help prevent the development of excessive scar tissue. Lastly, the patient will be screened for fall risk. If the patient is at high risk for falls, physical therapists will provide exercises that safely and carefully challenge his or her balance as a way to mimic real-life situations.
There are also additional treatments that your PT can use to help to reduce your pain. Some of these treatments that can help are hot/cold treatments, taping (such as rock tape) and electrical stimulation. Although these treatments offer temporary pain relief, they can help the patient to relax which promotes healing. According to renowned physical therapist Adriaan Louw, teaching people about pain can be one of the most beneficial ways to help the patients to learn why they are in so much pain and how they can use what they have learned to help to reduce their pain. Even if prehab only lasts for a couple weeks before surgery, it can be very beneficial and help you get back to an independent lifestyle sooner.
Tulsa Bone & Joint Associates is pleased to welcome Elizabeth Weldin, MD. Dr. Weldin is a hand surgeon specializing in hand, wrist, and elbow repairs, including pediatric hand conditions.
Dr. Weldin completed a fellowship in Hand Surgery and a residency in Orthopeaedic Surgery from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She earned a medical degree from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Dr. Weldin’s practice was previously located in Reno, Nev. at Reno Orthopedic Center.
Dr. Weldin’s clinic is located at the main Tulsa Bone & Joint campus at 4800 E. 109th E. Ave.
Dr. Weldin performs outpatient hand and upper extremity surgeries at Union Pines, the outpatient surgery center on the campus of Tulsa Bone & Joint at 4808 S. 109th E. Ave. She also has privileges at Ascension St. John and performs surgeries at Ascension St. John Main as well as Ascension St. John Broken Arrow.
Dr. Weldin is currently accepting new patients. She joins a team of two existing hand surgeons at Tulsa Bone & Joint, Dr. Jessica Childe and Dr. David Mokhtee, and Jeri Towsend, APRN-CNP.