- 28 August 2012
This is a sum up of a very interesting article and TV program. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2144429/Is-childs-school-bag-harming-spine.html#ixzz1uw9xPBvp
As it’s revealed many youngsters haul half their body weight… Is your child’s school bag harming their spine?
By LOUISE ATKINSON PUBLISHED: 02:59, 15 May 2012 | UPDATED: 10:09, 15 May 2012
80% of children in the UK regularly carry bags that are up to 20% of their body weight on their back, according to research from the charity BackCare.
Studies show children should not carry any more than 10% of their body weight and that anything over 15% can be damaging.
Musculoskeletal experts are warning we are facing an epidemic of back problems in young adults when the long-term effects of this early damage starts to appear.
Dr Skew, vice-president of BackCare, adds: ‘Children’s skeletons are still developing, and having a heavy bag slung over one shoulder can exert unnatural force on the spine, muscles and attachments. Rather like exercising only one side of your body in the gym, you quickly get unilateral muscle-loading, which can cause the small muscles in the back to tighten and compress the spine.’
A 2007 British study showed that 13 to 50% of 11-17 year olds have experienced back pain.
If you thought driving them to school would avoid the problems, think again.
‘Picking up and swinging a heavy backpack onto your shoulder multiple times a day is potentially more damaging to a growing body than having to walk a long distance with a static load,’ says Dr Skew.
It’s not just getting to and from school that’s the problem, because most schools no longer provide lockers or desks to store books (children sit at tables), so children have no choice but to carry everything around with them all day.
Dr Skew says young people are made even more vulnerable to back problems by their increasing inactivity — muscles don’t develop properly if you spend your time playing computer games instead of running around.
This is compounded by poor posture and one-size-fits-all furniture.
The type of bag your child is carrying can contribute to pain and strain.
The ideal school bag (according to Lorna Taylor, a pediatric physiotherapist)Not-too-large backpack
- Wide, padded straps to spread the load, adjusted so the pack sits high on the back and close to the spine.
- Heaviest items should be closest to the spine, which is the centre of gravity, to reduce the strain.
- Weigh no more than 10 per cent of their body weight
- A waist strap allows some of the weight to be taken on the pelvis.