Back pain is linked to choice of school bag

DUBAI — In a recent study, a direct correlation has been pointed between the presence of back pain and how the school bag was carried. In the back-to-school preparations now keeping parents in the UAE busy, Belhoul Speciality Hospital Physiotherapist Ms Mary Lyn Melgarejo warns parents to be wary when choosing school bags, as one of the common causes of back pain is the use of school bags.

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 31 Aug 2005, 10:18 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:29 PM

“Parents can do a lot in preventing such conditions, and to start with, they can encourage their child or teenager to tell them about pain or discomfort,” says Ms Melgarejo. “Do not ignore any back pain in a child or a teenager — talk to the school about lightening the load. Be sure the school allows students to stop at their lockers throughout the day and team up with other parents to encourage changes.”

Poor posture — although a common complaint voiced by parents about their children — is almost never a cause of paediatric back pain, according to Ms Melgarejo. “The cause of back pain in children can be divided into four main categories — inflammatory conditions, tumours, mechanical problems, and developmental abnormalities,” she says. “The first two are more common in children less than 10 years of age, while the second two are most often seen in children 10 years and older. Most back injuries that children and adolescents sustain in athletic or other recreational activities are mild contusions, sprains and strains. Pain may result from injury or overuse of the many muscles or joints of the back.”

A group of recommendations have been suggested for parents, such as wide, padded shoulder straps as narrow straps can dig into shoulders causing pain and restricting circulation; two shoulder straps as backpacks with one shoulder strap that runs across the body cannot distribute weight evenly; a padded back that protects against sharp edges on objects inside the pack and increases comfort; a waist strap to distribute the weight of a heavy load more evenly; and several other suggestions to help decrease the possibility of back pain.

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