Improper Use Of Backpacks
With the opening of schools, backpacks commonly used in primary and secondary schools, especially in children between the ages of 12 and 18, bring many problems. For this reason, it is necessary to provide the necessary education to the children of school age and hence to parents for the correct selection and carrying of backpacks. It is important to choose and use the right bags to protect children, especially girls, from back and low back pain.
The backpack puts strain on the spine and muscles in school-age children and causes muscle tension and poor posture. This situation adversely affects the posture of the child and causes back and low back pain. Studies have shown that the incidence of back and low back pain is 70 percent among school age children. And it was determined that the risk of low back pain increases in those who have low back pain at a young age. Although there is no evidence that structural backbone diseases such as scoliosis are caused by heavy backpacks, these problems which may develop later are mostly due to the weight of the bag that the children carry and the carrying of the bag in an inappropriate position. In addition, wheeled backpacks should be preferred if possible, especially in primary school children since the duration of bag carriage is an important factor.
Other factors that threaten this age group are important, such as poor posture, prolonged and incorrect sitting in front of the computer, and inadequate school desks. However, the total weight of the backpack should not exceed 10-15 percent of the weight of the child. This corresponds to 3-5 kilograms for primary school children and approximately 6-8 kilograms for high school students. If the materials it carries are above this weight, it should be discussed with the school administration and reduced. In a study, it was observed that the group of students with a high backpack weight complained about 50 percent more back pain than the group with a light backpack. And he found that carrying a heavy backpack increases the risk of falling, especially falling down the stairs. In addition, weights should be balanced in the bag and heavy items should be collected in the middle and the light ones should be balanced on both sides.
To Choose backpack;
Shoulder straps should be wide and soft and light bags with a waist belt should be preferred to avoid pressure on the nerves and to adversely affect blood circulation. And the straps and belt should not be loose so that it does not affect the center of gravity of the bag. Economic savings should not be made, quality products should be preferred.
The back pad should be good. In case of thin backpacks, the hard objects in the bag or the corner ends of the book sink into the back and disturb them.
The backpack should be carried balanced by hanging from both shoulders, and it should be known that bags hanging on one shoulder increase the risk of scoliosis (spine curvature).
The bottom of the bag should not be below the child's waist level. And the bag should be at least 5 cm above the waist level.
The backpack should be checked every day and any items and materials that are not required should be removed. It should also be shown that the child lifts the bag using his knees without leaning forward while picking up the bag. Families should encourage children to exercise and exercise to strengthen their neck, back and lumbar muscles.
If students complain of back or low back pain, or when the family suspects curvature and posture disorder in the child's spine, they must immediately visit a physician.
It should be noted that spending a long time with children sitting forward in front of the computer at school or at home may cause neck, back pain and posture disorders. For a healthy development, children should be encouraged to do regular sports.
Prof. Dr. Mahir UĞUR
Physical Therapy And Algology (Pain) Specialist