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Small Spines, Big Problems

Jan 11, 2018Health Matters for Women

Back pain is one of the most common reasons adults miss work, but kids can suffer from it too.

“It’s not as common, but back pain is possible in children and adolescents,” says Dr. Johnson, who has four children of his own. He attributes increased cases to a combination of factors, including:

  • Sitting for long periods at a desk in school
  • Carrying heavy backpacks
  • Competitive sports with short or no breaks between seasons
  • Prolonged use of computers made for adult bodies and handheld devices
  • Excess weight and obesity

Dr. Johnson recommends advocating for more physical activity during the school day and getting involved at your child’s school to create policies on backpacks. Children should not carry more than 10 percent of their body weight in a backpack. For example, if your child weighs 60 lbs., their backpack should not weigh more than 6 lbs. (Take your child’s weight and multiple it by .10).

Some schools are remedying this by providing an extra set of textbooks students can keep in the classroom and by offering online reading materials.

About Robert Johnson, DO

Suffering from unbearable neck or back pain?

Dr. Johnson is a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon, with the Idaho Back Institute at BMH, who treats people with a wide variety of spinal conditions of the neck and back. He specializes in several areas of spine surgery.

Bingham Memorial is among the world’s first hospitals to use a new tool in robot-guided spinal surgery—the Mazor X system. Dr. Johnson uses the Mazor X robotic equipment during spine surgery, and is one of the only physicians in the U.S. who has been trained to do so. Performing a robot-assisted spine surgery allows him to have greater precision and make smaller incisions, which translates into shorter hospital stays, better clinical outcomes, and faster return to everyday activities.

He welcomes patients in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, and Pocatello. If you’re suffering from chronic neck or back pain, call (208) 235-2277 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Johnson. Se habla Español