Backpack of your child may harm their spine, reveals a study. About eighty percent of children regularly carry backpacks that are up to twenty percent of their body weight on their back, found a study by the charity BackCare. Several studies have shown that carrying more than ten percent of your body weight can cause spinal damage.
Heavy backpack compresses the spinal discs and increases the curvature of spine. Musculoskeletal experts warn that people are facing an epidemic of back problems in young adults when the long-term effects of this early damage starts to emerge. The weight of the backpack is not the only factor to consider but also the type of backpack your child is carrying can contribute to pain and strain.
A British study conducted in 2007 showed that thirteen to fifty percent of children aged eleven to seventeen have experienced a back pain. It has already been shown that if you experience back pain as a child, then you are four times more prone to experience back pain as an adult.
Dr Peter Skew an Essex-based GP and vice-president of BackCare, warns there are increasing number adults coming for treatment in relation to back trouble and this can often be traced back to carrying heavy bags to school. Skeleton of children 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. 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 added Dr Skew.
The ideal school bag should be a not-too-large backpack with wide, padded straps to spread the load, and a waist belt. Heaviest items should be closest to the spine, which is the centre of gravity, to reduce the strain, explained Lorna Taylor, a paediatric physiotherapist.
She added parents should help their child pack the bag, so it does not weigh more than ten percent of their body weight. Straps should be adjusted so the pack sits high on the back and close to the spine. A waist strap allows some of the weight to be taken on the pelvis.