Back Pain and Schoolbags
Back Pain and Schoolbags
Imagine the damage done to one's back and neck when you carry a heavy bag on one side of your neck and shoulder. To make matters worse, multiply that over a period of years.
That's what our children and even adults are doing for years and years, without realizing how detrimental such an action, when done over years, can be to their spine and the surrounding tissues around their spine.
Many of these children who develop back pain, develop into chronic back and neck problems in their adult years, and well into late adulthood and life, if left untreated or unmanaged.
Other risks includes back pains, chronic muscle strain, disruption and distortion of the natural "S" curve in the spine, rounding of the shoulders.
As a parent, you can help reduce the risk of back pain in your children, such as buying for your children appropriate size backpacks and ensuring that the load that they carry isn't too heavy for their body.
Back Pain and Schoolbags: Risk Factors
Some of the risk factors for back pain with backpacks/schoolbags:
- A schoolbag that weighs more
than 10 per cent of the child’s weight
- Holding the bag in one hand by
- Carrying the bag over one
- An incorrectly packed
- An incorrectly fitted
Back Pain and Schoolbags: Buy the right kind of schoolbags
Your children needs to have a backpack, rather than a schoolbag with handles, or just a sling bag. Some things to consider include:
- Look for a backpack endorsed
by an healthcare organisation, such as the Allied Health Association of your country of residence.
- Please don't try to save money by buying the biggest backpack you can find, and hope "they will grow into it" - it's more important for the backpack to be appropriately sized for your children
- Choose a backpack with a
moulded frame or adjustable hip strap, so that the weight of the filled
backpack will rest on your child’s pelvis instead of their shoulders and
- The shoulder straps needs to be adjustable, and the back of the backpack padded for comfort.
- For ease of packing, the
backpack should have a few separate different compartments (for different groups of items)
- Canvas backpacks are always lighter
than leather ones.
- Children are pretty fashion-conscious and vulnerable to peer pressure, so please take your
child with you when buying their bags. You see, if the bag you chose is not hip or cool, your child may compensate for it by carrying the backpack in a more cool
way, such as over one shoulder.
Back Pain and Schoolbags: Pack the backpack correctly
- The backpack should weigh
less than 10 per cent of your child’s body weight – for example, a child
of 40 kg should carry less than 4 kg in their backpack. Ideally, the child
in this example should only carry around 2–3 kg of books.
- Pack the heaviest items sclosest to the child’s back. This will help to bring the center of gravity closer to the child and decrease risk of muscle strain in the back.
- Make sure that items are secure and they don't move around as the child move - this will prevent unnecessary balance throw-offs and decrease risk of injuries from loss of balance
Correct lifting and carrying techniques
- The bottom of the backpack needs to be above your child's waist - it shouldn't be slung low at their buttocks
- Backpacks that are fitted correctly will follow the shape of the child’s back, rather than hang off
- Your child should be able to lift the
backpack with a straight back, using their thigh muscles. Slip an arm
through one shoulder strap, and then the other.
- If your child has to lean
over to hold up the weight of the bag, then either their backpack is too heavy, incorrectly fitted or wrongly packed.
- Make sure your child
understands that carrying the backpack over one shoulder will result in back
Read "Back Pain In Children" to understand more about possible risk of back pain in children and adolescents
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Our Physio & Rehab Expertise
Specialist Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and specialist rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.
Areas of specialization
- physiotherapy: back and neck (spine), sports, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle
- hand therapy: forearm, wrist, hand and fingers
- podiatrist: leg, calf, ankle, foot and toes
- read more on our specializations here
All our therapists are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCM). See our entire team here by location and specialization.
Initially, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover. They then provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
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We are a wholly Singapore Private Limited group of licensed physiotherapists, hand therapists, podiatrists, chiropractors, sports massage therapists, clinical pilates practitioners and TCM physicians practicing in our scope of rehabilitation and its areas of specializations. As listed in our website are the list of services we provide our clients as referred by their medical doctors or by self referrals/word of mouth.
The range of rehabilitation results vary from patients to patients, depending on a variety of factors and reasons such as severity of condition, genetics, gender and age. However, we will still deliver the best evidence-based-practice of physiotherapy, hand therapy, TCM, sports training and deep tissue release therapy that we can deliver.
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