Today is the first day of class for San Antonio Catholic Schools, public schools start the new year a week from today.  And many students will again trudge to school with backpacks which are too heavy or worn improperly, potentially leading to serious lifelong discomfort, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

  Dr. Scott Seidel, a chiropractor with the San Antonio Orthopaedic Group, says it's not unusual for men and women in their thirties to come into his office complaining of pain that can be directly traced back to improper backpack use as a student.

  "Right now I see a lot of young adults who have chronic headaches, and chronic back pain, and many times we can trace that back to improperly used backpacks," Dr. Seidel said.

  He says one of the most common problems with backpack use is students who sling their backpack over just one shoulder, when they are designed to be worn over both shoulders.

  "If we're using a singular strap, that is going to pull on the shoulder, it's going to pull on the neck, it will cause headaches and back pain, as well a tingle in the arms," he said.

  He says in addition, many students wear backpacks too low on their backs.  He says backpacks are designed to rest on the broad shoulder blades, and if the backpack is worn too low it will cause posture issues.

  But the most common problem is a backpack which is simply too heavy.

  "A properly weighed backpack should be about five to ten percent of the child's body weight, no more," he says.

  Dr. Seidel recommends that students carry and particularly heavy items instead of putting them in the backpack.

  He says parents should be alert to complains of head, neck, or  back pain by students, because chances are good it is caused by improper backpack use.