Textbook injuries

My achy breaky back

For Ferris medical laboratory science freshman Brooke Allen, dealing with shoulder and back pain is something she has dealt with since before college.

“I did hair for a while before I started here. I was in cosmetology for a few years and that screwed up my back a little bit. I sort of suffered through the pain,” Allen said.

The American Chiropractic Association found that experts estimate up to 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives.

While Allen doesn’t find her conditions as severe as other students, she finds that students don’t always consider their own health when it comes to toting around heavy objects.

“I think it does come from pushing ourselves too much, because I’m not super strong, so carrying a backpack with three books in it can be pretty heavy,” Allen said.

Back and muscle aches can stem from various causes, including poor posture, carrying too much, medical conditions or working long hours.

“I think our jobs definitely play a role in back pain or you’re on your feet a lot,” Ferris forensic biology junior Eileen Nelson said.

However, students can treat muscle and back pains, sometimes from the comfort of their own home.

“If I have back pain, I’ll take medicine, but I’m fortunate enough to not have terrible back pain as others might,” Ferris nursing junior Sydnee Jager said.

Dr. Peter VanDeMark, M.D., at Birkam Health Center recommends application of heat to the area, mild pain medication such as Tylenol and staying active.

“It is the most common reason for adult doctor visits in the United States,” VanDeMark said. “In most cases, low back pain will resolve on its own in four to six weeks.”

If back pain persists or a student begins to feel numbness or weakness in legs, fever, severe pain, had a recent fall or injury to the back and are having issues going to the bathroom, they should go to the doctor to seek medical guidance.

Students with medical concerns can visit Birkam 8 a.m. — 5 p.m. or call at 231-591-2614. For emergencies, call 911.