SAN ANTONIO -

It's time to go back to school, and for many young ones, that also eventually means a trip to the doctor.

"I get probably at least one (or) two children per month -- elementary school-aged and even younger -- who come in with neck pain, hip pain, back pain (all) from a backpack," said Dr. Ephraim Brenman, of the San Antonio Orthopedic Group.

Often the problem is the backpack itself.

One of the keys to finding the right backpack for your student is to go for more function than fashion.

"It's got to be one that fits from the (lower) neck all the way down to the (lower) back, with an extra padding on the back so that it hugs the back properly," said Brenman.

Padded straps are also helpful, and waist belt can help maintain even weight distribution in the backpack.

Wearing the pack properly is also key.

"Are you carrying it on just one or both sides? Are you carrying too much in your backpack? Are you just kind of throwing it on your back instead of properly bending down and lifting up and putting it on properly? " asked Brenman.

Other methods, such as packing the heaviest items on the bottom center, and leaving non-essential items at home or school, will also help.

Not taking precautions can lead to a domino effect that starts with poor posture and leads to a trip to the orthopedist.

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