Newsletter Archives > Monthly Health Newsletter: September 2015 Health Newsletter

September 2015 Health Newsletter

Current Articles

» Backpack Safety Checklist
» Fibromyalgia and Vitamin D
» Got a question for the Doctor?
» How Pillow Height Affects Muscle Activity and Perceived Comfort
» Bicycle-Related Injuries Increasing in the U.S.
» Struggles with Sleep May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

Backpack Safety Checklist

ACA's Backpack Safety Checklist

One of the fundamental pieces of any back to school ensemble is, of course, the backpack.  Although they’re practical, backpacks are a leading cause of back and shoulder pain for millions of children and adolescents.  As students head back to school, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers parents advice on preventing unnecessary backpack pain and injuries.

The ACA offers the following checklist to help parents select the best possible backpack for their children:

  • Is the backpack the correct size for your child?  The backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso, and the pack should not hang more than 4 inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • Does the backpack have two wide, padded shoulder straps?  Non-padded straps are not only uncomfortable, but also they can place unnecessary pressure on the neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Does your child use both straps? Lugging a heavy backpack by one strap can cause a disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, low-back pain, and poor posture.
  • Are the shoulder straps adjustable?  The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. The backpack should be evenly centered in the middle of your child's back.
  • Does the backpack have a padded back?  A padded back not only provides increased comfort, but also protects your child from being poked by sharp edges on school supplies (pencils, rulers, notebooks, etc.) inside the pack.
  • Does the pack have several compartments?  A backpack with individualized compartments helps position the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child's back, and try to place the heaviest items closet to the body.

The ACA recommends that parents or guardians help children pack their backpacks properly, and they should make sure children never carry more than 10 percent of their body weight.  For example, a child who weighs 100 pounds shouldn’t carry a backpack heavier than 10 pounds, and a 50-pound child shouldn’t carry more than 5 pounds.

In addition, parents should ask their children to report any pain or other problems resulting from carrying a backpack. If the pain is severe or persistent, seek care from a doctor of chiropractic or other health care professional. 

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source: ACA Website
Copyright: ACA Website 2015

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Fibromyalgia and Vitamin D

Fibromyalgia and Low Vitamin D Levels

Fibromyalgia and vitamin DFibromyalgia patients are at risk of vitamin D deficiency according to a new study from Ireland. In the study, 36% of fibromyalgia patients had deficient levels of vitamin D and 62% had insufficient levels. That meant only 15% of patients were getting adequate levels of the vitamin.

The patients were mostly middle-aged women. Researchers pointed out that the women’s vitamin D levels may have been affected by the fact they live in seldom-sunny Ireland. When it is sunny, patients may still choose to stay indoors because of their disability and pain.

Low vitamin D levels can increase the risk of cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children, cancer, and more. Vitamin D helps the body maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. It also allows the body to absorb calcium to strengthen the bones.

Previous research has investigated the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and musculoskeletal pain with conflicting results. In some studies, fibromyalgia patients had low levels of the vitamin but in others their levels were no different than control participants.  In one study vitamin D supplementation appeared to have no specific clinical benefits for fibromyalgia patients.

Still, there does appear to be link between vitamin D deficiency and muscle pain. While more research is needed to understand this link, vitamin D supplements could benefit the overall health of fibromyalgia patients.

Consult with your doctor to learn which vitamins are right for you.


Jan A, et al. “Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels in patients with fibromyalgia” BSR 2012; Abstract 231.

Walsh, Nancy. Medpage Today. Vitamin D May be Help in Fibromyalgia. May 3, 2012. Accessed May 10, 2012.

Author: Michael Melton
Source: ChiroNexus
Copyright: Michael Melton 2014

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Got a question for the Doctor?

Want to know more about what Chiropractic do to help you feel stronger and be healthier? Click on the Conditions tab for research on many problems that particularly respond to Chiropractic care. Maybe you just want to see if there is something to add to your health routine? Call me at 201-525-0707 for a free 15 minute phone consultation to discuss one area that is concerning you. Tell Joan, Debi or Jolanta that you want to take me up on my complimentary offer and we will arrange a convenient time to talk.

Did you know that there are excellent exercise videos and articles on Chiropractic and health conditions on our website? Go to the homepage of and click on the Wellness Center tab. Come in for an evaluation and we can get you started on a home stretching program. Step by step instructions and clear photos and videos are available to help you achieve a better level of balance, ease and strength!

Take a few minutes to explore and like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter; rate us on Google or Yelp. We appreciate your support!

Author: Carmel-Ann Mania, D.C.
Source: Carmel-Ann Mania, D.C.
Copyright: Carmel-Ann Mania, D.C. 2017

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How Pillow Height Affects Muscle Activity and Perceived Comfort

A recent report studied how using foam pillows of three different heights affected the comfort and electromyographic (EMG) activity of the neck and mid-upper back muscles of participants. The study was performed by a team of therapists and researchers in the University of São Paulo School of Medicine in São Paulo, Brazil. Performed in 2014 and published in 2015, the study revealed the associations among pillow height, EMG activity, and perceived comfort. Twenty-one asymptomatic adults were observed using three different foam pillows of 5 cm, 10 cm and 14 cm, or approximately 2 inches, 4 inches and 5 1/2 inches. Study participants rated their comfort using a 100-mm visual analog scale, while researchers calculated EMG activity of the neck and mid-upper back muscles, called the sternocleidomastoid and upper and middle trapezius muscles. Participants considered height 1 (approximately 2 inches) to be the least comfortable and height 2 (approximately 4 inches) the most comfortable. In addition, all muscle groups showed statistical differences in EMG activity between heights 1 and 2, but not between heights 2 and 3. Individuals who prefer sleeping with a flat pillow may want to think twice, as a four-inch pillow may be the best choice for perceived comfort and back and neck support.

Source: JMPT. Volume 38, Issue 6, Pages 375-381.
Copyright: LLC 2015

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Bicycle-Related Injuries Increasing in the U.S.

Adult bicycling injuries increased sharply between 1998 and 2013, according to a new study that also reveals the increase is largely among cyclists over age 45. Bicycling is a popular among people of all ages for sport or commuting, but a growing number of adults embrace cycling as a low-impact exercise. The survey comes from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which collects data that includes bicycle-related injuries of those over age 18. Between 1998-1999, there were an estimated 96 bicycle-related injuries and about 5 hospital admissions per 100,000 people. Between 2012-2013, however, those numbers rose to 123 injuries and about 11 hospital admissions per 100,000 people. Researchers further examining the data discovered the correlation between injuries and age. In 1998, 23% of reported injuries were in riders over age 45. In 2012, this figure rose to 42% of injuries. Compared to younger individuals, older riders are more likely to be hurt in crashes or collisions. The study found that extremity injuries are less common, but head and torso injuries have risen. These findings demonstrate the importance of wearing appropriate safety gear as well as the need for U.S. cities and communities to support better bicycle riding infrastructures.

JAMA, online September 1, 2015.
Copyright: LLC 2015

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Struggles with Sleep May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

A targeted study by researchers at the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul, South Korea has found that getting too much or too little sleep can contribute to the "hardening" of arteries. This condition, caused by calcium buildup in the arteries, can be an early warning sign of heart disease or lead to heart attacks. The study involved over 47,000 men and women, with an average age of 42, who completed a sleep questionnaire and underwent a series of tests. These tests measured arterial stiffness and evaluated calcium and plaque deposits in arteries. The average duration of sleep among participants was 6.4 hours per night. Researchers categorized those who slept five hours or less each night as "short" sleepers, and those who slept nine hours or more each night as "long" sleepers. The study found that poor sleep quality can lead to stiffer arteries whether an individual sleeps too few or too many hours. Researchers subsequently determined that those who slept an average of seven hours per night and reported good sleep quality had the lowest levels of vascular disease.

Source: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, online September 10, 2015.
Copyright: LLC 2015

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