Massage Therapy and Depression – By: Patti McGregor, RMT

Almost everyone knows someone who is suffering from or has suffered from depression or anxiety, yet people still feel uncomfortable talking about it. Or even worse, seeking the help they need. Especially Men it seems, many men do not recognize, acknowledge, or seek help for their depression and may be reluctant to talk about how they are feeling.

Massage therapy could be the first step to climbing out of that black hole of depression.  Even if all you accomplish that day is leaving the house to get a massage, you will feel a hundred times better just knowing you’re taking control.  Massage nurtures and soothes the body and soul promoting whole body health and a sense of well-being .

As a complement to primary therapies such as talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, Massage Therapy has been shown to be beneficial in easing the pain, both physical and mental, that accompanies severe Depression or Anxiety.

Those suffering from chronic or severe depression often have a specific posture: head forward and down, upper back rounded and shoulders and arms rolled in toward the body.

This posture can result in shortened abdominal, chest and arm muscles which limit breathing and range of motion. It can also contribute to digestive issues and headaches. Massage helps ease the tension in shortened muscles and increases the blood flow, aiding in the flushing of toxins and healing tissue; bringing the body back into a more upright and balanced posture.

Many studies have also shown that Massage Therapy contributes to an increase in serotonin and dopamine levels (feel good neurotransmitters) and decrease in cortisol (stress hormone). Low levels of serotonin and dopamine and high levels of Cortisol are proven indicators of Depression that can be measured in urine or slivia.

High levels of cortisol not only contribute to feeling stressed anxious and depressed, but also

  • Inhibits sleep and quality of sleep meaning even when you get 8 hours your still tired
  •  It can increase weight gain especially around your middle even when you’re eating well
  • Lowers your immune system
  • Increases craving for sugary and high carb foods
  • Increases your sensitivity to pain
  • Decreases your sex drive (yikes!)

Many therapists believe that muscle stores emotions and memories and massage therapy can help release these as well. Correcting negative posture, working old scar tissue from surgeries, injuries or abuse can also help you reconnect to yourself and move past emotional roadblocks you may not even know were there.

Having a massage to help ease anxiety or Depression can be as short as 30 mins or as long as 90mins. It can be done over the sheets, with the client fully clothed or with oil in a more traditional way. The massage could encompass the full body or have only hands, feet and scalp worked. Techniques differ from therapist to therapist and you need to find what works best for you.  It’s all about being able to relax, feel safe and let go of the tension in a supportive environment.

Relief is close at hand, so why wait? Book your massage today or pass on the information to someone you love who is suffering.

Natalia Monka, Reg. PT: Men have pelvic pain too…and there are treatment options for them too!

xrayThere is a general lack of awareness when it comes to men’s health and pelvic pain. Research suggests that 1 in 10 males suffer from pelvic pain at some point in their lives. Those who do seek medical help often find themselves bounced around from various medical specialists with inconclusive test results and unanswered questions.  Quite often, men end up suffering for years with symptoms such as painful urination, burning sensations, pain with intercourse and chronic back, abdominal or hip pain.

A pelvic health physiotherapist can provide advice and guidance in managing any of the following conditions:

  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Urinary Urgency or Frequency
  • Painful Urination
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Prostatitis
  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction
  • Burning Ejaculation
  • Painful Scars/Adhesions
  • Pudendal Nerve Entrapment
  • Post Pelvic Surgeries
  • Pain with Intercourse
  • Sacroiliac (SI) pain
  • Coccyx (tailbone) pain
  • Abdominal/groin/hip pain

What to expect on your initial visit:

At PhysioExcellence, a comprehensive assessment is completed one of our registered physiotherapists who treat both male and female pelvic dysfunction. An assessment of posture, lumbar and pelvic mobility, strength and flexibility, dietary, bowel and bladder habits along with an internal exam of the pelvic floor muscles is completed. A discussion of the effects of stress, dietary habits and postural habits along with pelvic floor anatomy are reviewed in the first visit. Being an educated patient is the first step towards finding solutions for chronic pelvic pain.


Treatment Plans are all individualized and discussed following the assessment. These may include all or some of the following:

  • Manual Therapy: to restore pelvic and lumbar mobility
  • Postural re-training and re-education of abdominal and pelvic floor muscle function.
  • Home exercise program to build strength, improve flexibility and promote function.
  • Self-care program involving bowel and bladder habits and relaxation techniques to improve body awareness.
  • If necessary, biofeedback or electrical stimulation is used for pelvic floor muscle re-training.
  • Goals towards changing lifestyle factors that may be contributing to pelvic pain.

If you know someone who is suffering, share this blog with them, if its you, let’s get started, call today.

Stress Reduction for Men through Mindfulness

As a physiotherapist who believes that the mind and spirit are just as important as the body in the successful treatment of physical injuries and pain, I want to talk about stress and mindfulness for men during this month of Movember.

I think most people would agree that all of our stress levels seem to be rising – constant downsizing, new technology that means we’re expected to be on-call 24/7, pressure to be perfect parents, perfect partners, stay physically fit… But in the face of these added expectations, I believe that the code of masculinity still inherent in our culture doesn’t encourage men to express their worries, stress or fears openly, and that can amplify the pressure on men and limit their options for coping.

yoga 1

So what can men do? Practicing yoga is one area where men are still vastly outnumbered by women, but the balance is shifting, and more men are reaping the physical, mental and stress-reducing benefits of this ancient practice. The closely-related field of meditation still suffers from an “identity-crisis”, conjuring up images of turban-clad swamis sitting in lotus pose for days at a time. But have no fear. Mindfulness is a practice that you can do anywhere, anytime, and offers massive benefits without a big time commitment, or sitting in lotus pose.

I have been aware of mindfulness meditation for many years, mostly influenced by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work in using this technique for reducing stress, anxiety, pain and illness in people from all walks of life. And optimally one does “meditate” – which means sitting in a comfortable position for 5, 10, maybe 20 minutes every day, focusing on your breath, gently identifying when thoughts appear, and then returning to your breath, over and over. There are countless articles, YouTube videos, and even iPhone apps available online to get you started, and help you to practice regularly.

yoga 3

But what I want to highlight today is the way this technique can be used in any setting, at any time, to help reduce stress, bring relaxation and increase joy. Mindfulness is simply awareness of the present moment, which is always here, and always accessible. Try this. Instead of moving through your day on auto-pilot, take some breaks to “tune-in” – stop for a few seconds or a few breaths and focus on what you are doing or what you can feel, hear or see. Examples: at every red light, clear your mind of any mental chatter and just focus on your breath. While reading this blog, stop and notice all the sounds you hear. Before you start your next task, take a few breaths and scan your body for tension. When washing your hands, note the temperature of the water, the sensation of your hands touching.

These techniques can reduce your stress in difficult situations, lower your blood pressure, decrease anxiety, improve your interactions and relationships with others, and increase the positivity of your thoughts. So in this month of Movember, try a few moments of mindfulness – your body, mind and spirit deserve it!

3 Tips for Prostate Health

As men get older, the possibility of having an enlarged prostate can become a reality. It’s estimated that about half of men who are just 50 years old have an enlarged prostate (also called BPH, for benign prostatic hyperplasia). BPH can lead to symptoms like difficulty starting or stopping urination, increased frequency or urgency of urination, bladder infections, formations of kidney stones, to name a few.

So, how can you decrease your symptoms of BPH or even lessen the likelihood of getting them? There are a number of things, but here are 3 quick tips!

1)    soyHave some soy – soy has lots of good nutrients, and one of them is beta-sitosterol. This has the same mechanism of action as a common medication prescribed for BPH, and has been shown in studies to decrease BPH symptoms. A 3.5 oz serving a day of soybeans or tofu can significantly lower symptoms.

2)    Get moving – physical activity has been well shown to decrease BPH tmillsymptoms. Even moderate physical activity such as household chores, yard work, has been associated with decrease symptoms. And it’s dose dependent too – the more active you are, the less likely you will get symptoms!

3)    Consider going herbal – Pygeum africanum is an extract from an African prune tree that has been shown to decrease symptoms of BPH in a number of studies. crush herbThere are other herbal extracts that have shown beneficial effects as well, and this is one of the best studied. Pygeum has a good safety profile, but as with any prescriptions, you want to check with a professional to make sure the form and dose are right for you and that there won’t be any interactions with any medications you are on.

There are lots of diet, lifestyle, herbal and nutraceuticals options to help keep the prostate happy. And isn’t that the saying – happy prostate, happy household?

blue ribbon

Happy Movember everyone!

Dr. Alan Vu, ND

1) Ambrosini et al. 2008. Dietary patterns and surgically treated benign prostatic hyperplasia: a case control study in Western Australia. BJU Int. 2008 Apr;101(7):853-60.
2) Fowke et al. 2013. Association between physical activity, lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and prostate volume. BJU Int. 2013 Jan;111(1):122-8.
3) Wilt at al. 2002. Pygeum africanum for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1)

6 Pregnancy Wellness Tips

1.  Eat a healthy diet and supplement as neededPreg 2A diet rich in nutrients is critical to the development of your baby, especially in the first trimester. Sometimes it is difficult to get all your nutritional needs from foods, especially if you are experiencing nausea.   A healthy diet with some supplements can help you maintain a healthy pregnancy and help the health of your baby in many ways.

2. Floss and maintain good oral hygiene – The benefits of good oral hygiene are amazing!  Flossing can help reduce gum disease, reduce systemic inflammation and can actually help reduce the risk of preterm labour.   It’s also a good idea to visit your dentist or oral hygienist to get a thorough cleaning.

Preg 13.  Avoid plastics – You have probably heard of BPA, a chemical found in plastics that can affect your hormone levels.  Other plastics also contain harmful chemicals that can affect your pregnancy, even “BPA-free” plastics.  Avoid eating and drinking from plastic containers while pregnant.  Also consider other hidden sources of harmful plastics: most store receipts, canned foods, most disposable coffee cups.

4. Consume adequate levels of vitamin D – Maintaining appropriate vitamin D levels can have a HUGE impact during pregnancy.   Having appropriate levels during pregnancy can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, even preterm labour and risk of needing a c-section.  Talk to your healthcare provider about how much vitamin D is the right amount to take.

5. Maintain a healthy vaginal ecology – The vaginal canal contains its own ecosystem and this plays an important role in pregnancy.  Maintaining a healthy amount of good bacteria can help reduce the risk of vaginal infections and also reduce the risk of preterm birth.  It can also help to prevent allergies in your baby.

6. Seek the advice of a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist – They can answer questions about preparing for labour and delivery, teach you postural awareness and the correct way to perform a pelvic floor contraction aka “kegels”. Prevention is key in reducing injury to your pelvic floor.

Preg 3

Naturopathic Consultations During Pregnancy

Having a naturopathic doctor to coach you through a healthy pregnancy is a great way to improve your health and your baby’s health.

Key points when working out during Breast Cancer

RibbonDuring a time of when a person is dealing with breast cancer there are many factors as a trainer that I like to take in consideration – the most important one is really tuning into what that particular client is going through emotionally, not just physical. As a trainer it is not my job to ever act as their therapist but it is a time where I remind my clients (as much as any other clients not battling cancer) that they must give compassion to themselves for how they are feeling. Every client with breast cancer is different and how their body reacts to the treatment they are given and surgery besides the fundamental thought of what stage of cancer they have or where they are in their stage of recovery. Why I chose first to talk of their emotional well being is due to the fact that emotionally (mentally) it can affect their energy levels and how they preform physically.

During the time of recovering from treatment of breast cancer it is important that my clients realize that this isn’t a time to push themselves to giant goals of becoming an extreme athlete. It is a time where I want my client to focus on how well they are feeling and really listen in to their body coming with the yoga thought of, “You’re body is different everyday and you must respect what your body will allow you to do”. There are going to be some days when clients may be able to achieve something more one day and the next session round they have to ease back on their body as they may not preform like the last session. The main focus for each session is to get the client feeling good physically and leaving the session happy that they have done something good for themselves.

Walking Family

There are many wonderful things that breast cancer clients can do to help in their healing process. Walking is a great exercise and can be done inside or outside, with company or just by themselves. When it comes to certain clients they may come to me with wanting to help rehabilitate the affected area post-operation to get that range of motions back or balance work to help out with the affected area (if they have had total reconstructive surgery). The exercises given to clients are not ones where they have to push themselves to their max, if anything we want to keep the repetitions of exercises to the affected area to its comfortable ability. When also talking about keeping physically fit it could just come down to a light stretching for a more restorative exercise session.

Whatever the client chooses to engage in as far as activity they should keep in mind that exercise of a right proportion to their needs is individual. Exercise gives them a great benefit as far as helping blood exchange within the body and the lymph nodes. Doing some active strength exercises can helps with regaining that range of motion in the affected area due to scar tissue and adhesions while keeping the unaffected areas strong. Strength training does not have to be hard, something simple as using their own body weight, elastic bands or tubing and even light weights incorporated into the workout. A great goal to focus on is postural exercises that will allow the client to steer clear of having any (or furthering any) muscular imbalances. Postural exercises increase strength of the local and global muscles while incorporating core are very fundamental to any program. Any client feeling any discomfort or pain during an exercise should not push themselves…movement should always be in a pain free range of motion and not leaving them exhausted. Clients should also be aware that having adequate recovery time from their last session is hugely important so they don’t stress the body further.

Walk for the Cure

Ideally clients will want to look for something that they enjoy and something that they themselves can do at home as well as have that guiding hand. There are a multitude of great exercises out there that a specialized trainer can show you, whatever their personal needs may be.

Yup, we are talking about… Breast Massage!

Boob’s, Ta-Ta’s, The Girls, Jugs, (one I just learned) B1 and B2! Whatever you call them, if you are a woman; they are your life long companions and can be a source of great joy…and pain.

With this in mind, I want to mention two words that you don’t always hear together in a sentence, Breast and Massage. Yup, we are talking about… Breast Massage!

MassageOur breasts are constantly changing throughout our lifetime in size, shape, and function. If you’ve ever worn a bra, have a desk job, or been in a car accident…had any chest or breast surgeries including implants, reductions, mastectomy, cyst removals or biopsies…if you’re pregnant or breast feeding, even if you are bottle feeding and holding an infant in your arms for long periods of time…then you can benefit from Breast or Pectoral Massage!

A breast is primarily composed of adipose tissue (fatty tissue) and glandular tissue (assists in lactation.) There is an important network of lymph glands surrounding your breast that acts as a natural drainage system and aids in waste removal. The breast overlies many major muscles of the chest wall (covering 50% of the pectoral muscle) which play important roles in posture, arm movement and breathing.

For healthy, happy breasts we need good circulation of blood and lymph to remove toxins that accumulate within the tissue of the breast. These “Toxins” can be waste from the constantly changing cells within the breast due to hormonal surges each month or from environmental toxins which, unfortunately for us, end up being very compatible with fatty tissue (aka breast tissue). Congestion within the breast adds to this build up of toxins. Wearing under-wire or push up bras can be a contributing factor to breast congestion as can scar tissue, poor posture, large breasts or fibrocystic breasts.

Breast Massage increases circulation of blood and lymph through the tissues, aiding in reducing swelling from surgeries, increasing pliability of scar tissue, decreasing soreness due to hormonal fluctuations as well as promoting better posture and range of motion in the upper body. Not only are we increasing the circulation of the breast tissue we are also affecting the important muscles of the chest as well!

Most clients complain of upper back and neck pain, so their massage therapist will usually concentrate on those areas. However, I think it is easy to forget about how much the pectoral muscles come into play with this type of pain. Some therapists, along with their clients, don’t have enough experience with this type of treatment so can feel uncomfortable treating the area. Although breast tissue is touched during the massage, most of the work is to the side and edges of the breast as that is where the lymph nodes are located. The nipple or nipple area is never massaged. Breast massage can be done with both breasts covered by the sheet, partial coverage or with one undraped and the other covered. It’s all about what the client and therapist are comfortable with.Breast Feed

Breast massage can be an emotional experience for some clients. In my practice, I’ve discovered that many people hold emotions in the chest and abdominal areas. Events and memories you didn’t realize were upsetting you can come up during a breast massage. Not just the obvious but any emotional trauma, health scares or missing loved ones. With this in mind, please be sure to find a therapist you feel safe and comfortable with.

Many women are surprised to find that a Breast Massage can be as comfortable and relaxing as a back massage, making you feeling happier and healthier than before you walked into the clinic and can leave you with the knowledge you’re doing something positive for your body.

Massage, it’s as important as going to the dentist but much more relaxing!

Back to routine, but that back is certainly feeling the effects!

Feeling chained to your desk these days?

chainedYou are not alone! With the evolution of the office and computer work environment, many people spend their days sitting on a chair and staring at a computer screen. If only office companies would have thought of outdoor office spaces!

With the increased time spent sitting (at our desks, in our car, at the dinner table) we run the risk of developing various aches and pains. Follow these 5 simple steps on how to improve your work station:

  1. Adjust the height of the chair.  Your feet should be flat on the floor, which allows for your hips and pelvis to be at the same height.  Use a footrest if your chair is not adjustable, and resist the temptation to cross your legs while sitting! This position will decrease circulation to your legs and feet.
  2. Keep your wrists in neutral position.  Avoid bending your wrists sharply upwards or downwards to type. Make sure that if you are using a wrist rest that it doesn’t force your wrists to excessively bend down! Try to opt for a “split-design” keyboard.
  3. Adjust your monitor.  Ideally, the centre of the monitor should sit at eye level and always directly in front of your face and about an arm’s length away.
  4. Keep your mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse pad may be useful in keeping your wrist from bending awkwardly.stretch
  5. Get up and move! Every 30-45 minutes, stand and do a few quick  stretches. Sitting for long periods will create soreness in your muscles and joints. If you are in your car or trying to stay awake during that important quarterly meeting, at least shift your weight in your chair and do a few neck and shoulder stretches.

Apart from sitting for long periods, our backs can also be injured and get achy from improper lifting techniques. Keep these tips in mind next time you need to lift a heavy object:

  1. Check it out before risking putting your back out.  Test the weight of the object, and where it needs to be placed. Does it have handles? If it’s too heavy or an awkward shape, make sure to ask for help.
  2. Get as close as possible to the object. Place your feet wide to give yourself a stable base.
  3. Save the twist for the dance floor. Keep your body facing the object when you lift and carry it.lifting
  4. Lifting from a low level? Don’t even think about bending from that waist. Bend from your hips and knees instead. Alternatively, you could lower down on one knee and slide the object toward you before pushing your body upwards.
  5. Make it smooth. Don’t jerk your body back up as you lift. Use your arms and legs. Keep the object close to your body, take a breath and at the exhale tighten your core muscles to brace your back. Bend your elbows and straighten your knees to lift the object up. While carrying, keep the object close to your body at all times.
  6. Pushing is usually easier then pulling.  If you have to pull, keep the cart at your side to avoid extending your back.

7 Tips and 2 Recipes for Back to School Lunches

Keep these 7 tips in mind to help you pack a school lunch with a healthy and creative punch.

1. FruitColour is the spice of life. Colour means nutrition, so keep your kid’s lunchbox colourful with all colours of the rainbow. Orange carrot slices, red tomatoes or pepper slices, green avocado on their sandwiches, blueberries on their yogurt or a skewer of pink strawberries. After all, we also eat with our eyes and kids are no exception! (no artificial colours please)!

2. Involve your Kids in the Preparation. Kids are more likely to eat their food if they were involved in the process. Let them help prepare the sandwiches or have them choose from two bowls of veggies and fruit options which ones they want to pack each day.

3. Don’t forget Your Veggies. Kids love eating hand held veggies, especially if there is a dip involved. Add some pureed sweet potato to a store-bought dip or stir in chopped herbs or even pureed fruit. Ants on a log with nut free sunflower seed butter or cream cheese with raisons, currants or cranberries are always a hit with kids.

4. Spice up your sandwiches. Try different breads, flatbreads, pitas, wraps, bagels or English muffins to keep it fresh, and mix and match the fillings with Veg n Dipdifferent cheeses, egg, leftover meat, veggies, chutneys, dried fruit and veggie fillings. Or why not keep the sandwich fillings separate and let them do the building at school?

5. Keep Cool. Skip the sugar laden fruit juice and pack a partially frozen water bottle inside their lunch box to keep their items cool until lunch. If they don’t love water add some berries or a touch of honey to their water to sweeten it. Use partially frozen bread for the sandwiches to keep their lunches cool and their sandwiches fresh and crunchy.

6. Leftovers are your friend. It’s a long year of making lunches and dinners every day so why not you make it easier on yourself and cook large portions for dinners to always have leftovers on hand? Homemade chicken or fish fingers make a great lunch with a honey mustard dipping sauce, or cut up meatballs to put in a salad; try a thermos of warm soup or chili or sliced cold leftover chicken or beef with cheese slices.

7. Packaging is everything. Kids love opening packages and small containers in their lunch boxes are no exception. Purchase some single serving containers for chopped tropical fruit, plain organic full fat yogurt sweetened with honey or blueberries, homemade dips, trail mix of pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and coconut, leftover meat, cheese slices or a healthy mini cookie or two.

Home-made Fruit Leathers

Skip the expensive store bought versions and make your own natural version your kids will gobble up!

5 large apples, peaches or pears
1.5 cups strawberries, blueberries, bananas and/or citrus fruit
1 cup water


  • Peel and core the apples, peaches or pears slicing thinly.
  • Chop bananas, berries or citrus.
  • Place all fruit in a pot with the water and place a lid on.
  • Cook until soft and then puree with a hand held blender.
  • Line a tray with baking paper and pour the fruit mix onto the baking tray.
  • Spread evenly and thinly.
  • Place in the oven and turn on, setting the temperature to 120°C.
  • Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon.
  • This dehydrating process can take anywhere from 2 hours to 10 hours depending on the type of fruit and the level of moisture left in the mixture.
  • Have your kids help slice and cut using animal shaped cookie cutters.

Sweet Potato Cookies

Nutrient packed cookies with a natural sweetness you can feel good about giving to yourself and your kids.

½ cup rolled oats
½ cup flour of choice
½ cup ground sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. coconut oil or butter, melted
¼ cup apple butter
¾ cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
2 tbsp. cane sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon powder


  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl, shape cookies and lay them on a greased baking sheet or with parchment paper
  • Bake at 300°F for 20-30 min

Size Matters…Backpacks and your kids


Summer has come and gone and it’s September again. Time for back to school and back to school shopping. Number one on our shopping list this year is backpacks. The array of styles and sizes is staggering, not to mention prices. My boys are going into grade 2 and grade 3 and although they get a ride to school every day, I pick them up either on my bike or we take public transit. This means they will have their backpacks on their backs for a considerable amount of time. 

As a mom I am concerned about just how heavy their packs are, but as a physio, I am concerned about potential, long term damage to their spines. One study ( reported that 64% of students in grade 7-8 had pain, 41% of them when they carried their backpack and 21% had pain more than 6 months. The researchers found reports of increased pain as the weight of backpacks increased in comparison to the weight of the child. Other research shows that adults with severe back problems often had pain as kids.

Here are my tips on how to choose a backpack for your child whether he is going to preschool or she is off to University.

1. The backpack should be the right size for them.
a. The bottom of the pack should be higher than their bum, landing just above the curve in their low back
b. The straps should be wide and padded and worn on both shouldersImage

2. Choose a well constructed lightweight backpack
a. We looked at an ObusFormR backpack that weighed a ton when it was empty! Obviously we didn’t buy that one.
b. Side pockets can help to distribute the weight more evenly

3. Fill the backpack with the heaviest items closest to your child’s back
a. This helps to keep the heavy items closer to their centre of mass

4. The backpack should not weigh more than 10% of the body weight of a child under 10, and no more than 20% for your teens. (this is my rule, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that children carry no more than 15 percent to 20 percent)
a. Say your 4 year old starting in JK is 40lbs that means her backpack should not exceed 4lbs. 
b. If your 17 year old is 100lbs, then his back pack can be up to 20lbs

5. Weigh the backpack
a. Throw the pack on a scale and see just how much it weighs
b. My boys have a tendency to collect rocks. This can make for a very heavy pack. We also empty the pack every night so things (aka rocks) don’t accumulate, needlessly adding weight

6. Don’t worry about what they have to bring home. Size matters.
a. At our school the kids get a plastic envelop, called “the mailman” to carry information back and forth from school, i.e. notes from the teacher to me, or notes from me to the teacher. It measures 10×16”. If I get a backpack to fit “the mailman”, my children will need a backpack that is adult size. Instead, we fold the envelop and the papers get crinkled. Oh well. Better to have crinkled notes than a crooked spine

7. Remind older kids to leave heavy items in their locker until they need them
a. In a pinch they could carry some items in their arms to offset the weight in the pack

Image8. The backpack should be easy to get on and off. If not it could be too heavy
a. Be sure they wear both straps on their shoulders
b. When worn incorrectly injuries to the spine can occur and last into adulthood

Size Matters! Getting the right size of back pack for your child is essential to prevent injuries. It is much harder to overload a smaller bag. But even if you do everything right, your child may still complain of a sore neck and/or back. Your pediatrician or a pediatric physiotherapist can assess for minor problems that are treatable and often curable. If there is numbness or tingling in their arms or legs, the pain is severe or is not relieved by adjusting the backpack seek medical attention right away. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 40% of the 24,000 people treated in the USA for backpack-related injuries in 2012 were kids aged 5-18!

Does your child complain of neck or back pain?