We all want the best for our teens—especially as they embark on another exciting school year in Hampton Roads, Virginia. However, sometimes the tools meant to support their learning, like backpacks, can lead to unexpected pain.





This blog will look at overloaded school backpacks and the pain that might affect your teen-aged child. We will also explore ways to address this issue, including how to shop for a new school backpack.





The Strain of the Backpack





By design, the back will compensate for any load applied to it. Picture this: A teen, excited for their day in a Virginia Beach school, slings on their backpack, not realizing that the weight is slowly harming their back. Picture your teen's backpack - X-Box Controllers, water bottles, computers, extra batteries, and more. This isn't a one-time event. This chronic routine may cause them to experience back pain throughout their school years, including college.





backpain pain student




What are the effects of an overloaded backpack? From a physical therapy view, here is a list of impacts:






  • Exert undue pressure on the lower back, potentially leading to disc compression.




  • Distort the natural curves in the middle and lower backs, causing muscle strain and irritation to spine joints and the rib cage.




  • Cause lumbar asymmetry or curvature in the lower back.




  • Lead to rounded shoulders, which in turn affects posture.




  • Pull on the neck muscles, giving rise to headache, shoulder pain, lower back pain, and neck and arm pain.




  • Make someone lean forward, hampering balance and raising the risk of falls.





Preventative Tips: Backpacks and Pain





Backpacks and back pain don’t have to be lifelong partners! Back-to-School is the perfect time to review some tips with your kids. (These tips are also helpful for adults that regularly use a backpack during their commute to work or for hobbies and adventures.)





Some precautionary steps include:






  • Use both shoulder straps for balance.




  • Opt for lightweight, padded backpacks.




  • If available, pick backpacks with wheels.




  • Make use of lockers to reduce carrying weight.




  • Regularly empty backpacks of unnecessary items.




  • Limit backpack weight to 15% of a child's body weight.





Shopping for the Perfect School Backpack





Shopping for a new school backpack is exciting—no matter the student's age. But choosing a backpack isn’t just about colors or trendy designs; it’s about ensuring it supports your teen's health. You have read about the link between school backpacks and pain. Now, here are some tips from the Therapy Network staff to keep in mind when shopping for a new backpack:






  • Opt for backpacks with wide, padded straps.




  • Seek multiple sections for even weight distribution.




  • Consider waist belts to help distribute weight.




  • Reflective material is a plus for children commuting during low light.




  • Aim for a lightweight design.





Physical Therapy: The Solution to Backpack-Induced Pain





If your teen in Hampton Roads feels the aftermath of a heavy backpack, physical therapy is the way forward. It alleviates pain and strengthens muscles, ensuring future resilience against injuries. School backpack-induced pain should not be ignored.






“A great way to prevent back injury is to strengthen the stabilizing muscles of your torso, including your lower back and abdominal muscles.”—KidsHealth.org






Enter The Therapy Network…





When the talk comes to expert physical therapy, look no further than The Therapy Network. With six accessible offices throughout Coastal Virginia, including Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, and Chesapeake, we are always within reach. What makes us even more special? No need for a physician's referral to start your teen's healing journey with us! We prioritize convenience with immediate appointment availability.





In conclusion, while backpacks are a school staple, ensuring the correct use is vital. As we've learned, overloaded backpacks can be the villain behind back and shoulder pain. But with the right backpack and the expert care from The Therapy Network, we can ensure our teens and children are pain-free and ready to conquer the world!





If your teen is experiencing back or shoulder pain, don’t wait. Visit one of our six locations in Coastal Virginia today. The health of our future, our children, rests in the balance. School backpack-induced pain may not resolve on its own.





And remember, at The Therapy Network, a healthier future is just an appointment away!



Finding five ways to exercise living near or visiting Virginia Beach, Virginia has many benefits. One of, if not the largest benefit, is our famous stretch of beach and boardwalk. Virginia Beach has a world-renowned sand beach and 3-mile long boardwalk that provides numerous opportunities for exercise and has frequent national events including sand soccer, volley ball, Something In the Water, and even Monster truck rallies. When you combine any two of these activities, you can find at least five fun ways to exercise at the beach.





Something In The Water Crowd - WTKR TV




You do not need a gym membership to find fun ways to exercise in our region. Recently, we published a blog about Coastal Virginia walking trails that provide a great starting point for your exercise journey.





From sunrise walks to yoga and biking, there are many ways to enjoy our regional beaches. Here are our five fun ways to exercise at the beach…and tips.





Go For A Walk





People walking on beach
Exercising at the beach




Go for a walk on a sandy beach in Virginia or walk along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Both provide healthy and free exercise. If your choice is to walk on a sandy beach, be sure to follow these tips from The Therapy Network: 






  1. When walking on sand, start slow and practice moderation. Walking is low-impact aerobic exercise, but you do have to adjust to each step sinking in the sand.




  2. Wear shoes. You may be tempted to walk on the beach barefoot, but being barefoot puts more tension on your tendons and joints.




  3. Set your beach walking schedule around low tide. You can avoid the slope of the sand if you walk at low tide and near the water.





Enjoy a walk at sunrise, a mid-day workout, or an evening stroll. Walking on the beach or the adjacent boardwalk is a fun way to enjoy the beach and the benefits of exercise.





Yoga and Pilates









Many use yoga and Pilates to reduce stress, exercise, and tone. Add beautiful beach scenery and you have the perfect recipe for a fun activity on the beach. Here are some helpful tips for beach yoga and Pilates from the therapists at The Therapy Network: 






  1. Leave the mat at home. It is perfectly OK to leave your yoga mat at home for your next beach yoga experience. Let the soft Virginia sand be your mat.




  2. But remember the sunscreen. Beach yoga and Pilates reduce stress and help you relax, but do not relax your efforts to prevent skin cancer. We always suggest sunscreen when exercising outdoors, especially at the beach.




  3. Remember to hydrate. Bring your favorite water bottle and remember to hydrate.





If yoga or Pilates is part of your fitness routine, we are sure you will want to add it to your five ways to exercise at the beach.





Go For a Run





You may be a runner that has a bucket list of favorite runs. Running along the water's edge on a Virginia Beach may be on that list. But running on the beach comes with a set of challenges, and it is crucial to follow these tips below to stay safe and prevent injury:  






  1.  Keep long runs to the boardwalk. Running on sand is challenging, making it difficult to run for a long time.




  2. If you do decide to run on the soft Virginia sand, ensure that you change direction often to compensate for the slope of the beach. Set your schedule to run at low tide and on the firm sand along the waterline.




  3. As with walking, always wear shoes when running on the beach.




  4. With any exercise on the beach, stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.





If you are new to running, be sure to discuss both your running plan and your beach running plan with a professional. A professional therapist can provide custom tips and ensure your shoes are well-fitted.





Swimming in the Ocean or Chesapeake Bay





Although swimming is an excellent source of exercise, swimming in the ocean's open waters or Chesapeake Bay takes some pre-planning and experience. Here are some essential tips:






  1. Review the NOAA Rip Current Survival Guide  




  2. Only swim in a lifeguarded area




  3. Never swim alone




  4. Be Aware: Heed weather and water conditions and warnings.





Although swimming is of the top five ways to exercise at the beach, it is crucial to swim responsibly and heed all warnings.





Biking, Kayaking, and Paddle Boarding





Coastal Virginia has a unique infrastructure for biking, kayaking, and paddle boarding. All three are fun ways to exercise at the beach and surrounding waterways.









Need a bike? A favorite place to bike is along the flat, safe Virginia Beach Boardwalk. You will find beach bikes to rent along the way. Warm weather brings many visitors to the boardwalk. Some will be on bikes while others run or walk. For safety, we always suggest that you wear a helmet and be aware of your surroundings. Please make sure to watch for those stopping to take photos.





If kayaking or paddle boarding, tell someone about your plan and when to expect your return. And ALWAYS wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). If you are looking for places to launch your kayak or SUP, check out the website Virginia Water Trails





The Therapy Network





After reading this blog, you may be thinking about enjoying these five fun ways to exercise on the beach. Fitness for these fun activities should be within your reach. However, if you are looking for a little help getting started, The therapists and athletic trainers at The Therapy Network are available to review your fitness level with a free wellness check. Remember, you never need a prescription to visit The Therapy Network.





If you live in the Hampton Roads area, there is a Therapy Network clinic near your neighborhood or place of work. We have appointments available today and do NOT require a prescription. Browse our website and make an appointment at one of our therapy centers today.


cobra pose

Have you suffered from persistent back pain or discomfort in your extremities for months? Perhaps you have tried physical therapy and are still looking for a better solution. It is time to find out about the McKenzie Method® for back pain.





The McKenzie Method® used in physical therapy is a non-invasive and self-managed solution that may fit your needs today and into the future. Each of TTN’s six locations has a McKenzie Institute®-trained physical therapist.





How Common is Back Pain?





You are not alone. Here are a few statistics about back pain in the US today:






  • Over 72 million Americans will suffer from back pain during their lifetime. That is 8 out of 10 in the United States. —Vertosmed.com






  • Out of those with mild symptoms, 5% will develop chronic pain if left untreated. –Pain News Network






  • 4 out of 10 employees that sit at a desk will suffer from back pain at some time. --NIH





Usually, back pain builds gradually until the pain is noticed and impacts the enjoyment of your day. Here is a quote that sums up the problem facing many today:





"When back pain suddenly shows up, we are tempted to blame it on the last minor stressor that affected it, such as a soft bed in a hotel. This is like blaming your bankruptcy on the last latte you bought before your account finally went into the red.”—Todd Hargrove.





After reading the quote, you may be nodding your head in agreement. Most suffering from long-term back pain admit to ignoring the initial discomfort.





The Method that Works is Available Now





You may be new to the pain or have been suffering from back pain over an extended period of time.  You may have even tried other solutions, even physical therapy.





Two of the top benefits of The McKenzie Method® is that your therapist will know within a few sessions if another treatment protocol is needed. If successful, it becomes a method you can deploy at the first sign of discomfort.





What if you could turn back time and stop or alleviate back pain before it impacts your day? The McKenzie Method® for back pain gives you the tools and exercises to relieve pain without using pharmaceuticals. The technique relieves pain and lets you continue a productive and enjoyable lifestyle.





It is a method backed by science with a long record of a positive outcome. You can learn about the McKenzie Method® by meeting with a McKenzie Institute®- trained physical therapist at The Therapy Network. In addition, read the latest updates by the McKenzie Method® Institute.






https://youtu.be/noF9uulyi4I?t=9
Good Morning America describing McKenzie Method Treatment




The McKenzie Method® at The Therapy Network





You may ask, "What is the McKenzie Method®, and how do I learn about it?"  The method is non-invasive and focuses on the need of each patient. Often, the technique helps where other physical therapy methods have not.





Here is a quote from a TTN therapist that specializes in the McKenzie Method®:






"Specializing in the treatment of spinal patients at our Chesapeake office, I received my Certification in McKenzie Method® of Diagnosis and Therapy in 1999 and have been using it to treat spinal cases ever since. I utilize this method because it is patient-driven and exercise-based, backed by research, and incredibly effective. Many of my referrals come from physicians whose patients tried traditional physical therapy (sans-McKenzie) and failed to see improvement.”—Elaine Comer PT





The McKenzie Method® for back pain includes a tailored routine of exercises and stretches that patients can do at home. It is an active therapy method that is cost-effective. Once you learn the technique and the best steps for your diagnosis, you can self-manage the process.





Schedule An Appointment at The Therapy Network Today





Think of the McKenzie Method® as an investment in a pain-free future. If you are ready to learn more, it is time to schedule an appointment at The Therapy Network.





https://www.thetherapynetwork.com/schedule-appointment/The Therapy Network is coastal Virginia's leading physical therapy network. Schedule an appointment online or call 757-496-3700. Let us teach you the McKenzie Method® for back pain today.