Everything you need to know about backpacks
You just have to spend an afternoon looking at the children going home after school, their backs bent under the weight of their back bags, to achieve the potential danger they cause.
Research (Spine, 1998) shows that almost 60 % of young people live at least one episode of back pain before the end of their adolescence. No need to be an expert to understand that there is a more than probable link between these back pain and backpacks, often too busy and/or inadequate.
Why could a backpack cause back pain?
The simple logic tells us that a weight distributed unequally or incorrectly, day after day, on a growing spine can bring back problems. The American agency Consumer Product Safety Commission said in 2001 that it was more than 7,000 emergency visits among the 5 to 18 year olds which were due to injuries caused by backpacks, according to the same agency, the number of These injuries have grown 330 % since 1996.
Dr. Marvin Arnsdorff by Backpack Safety America/International is now talking about an epidemic. Wearing a too heavy backpack brings an unnecessary load to the spine, which protects the fragile nervous tissue from the spinal cord.
This repeated charge every day can over time lead to an accumulation of tension in the spine, which predisposes a whole variety of problems, from simple back pain to headache and even osteoarthritis premature.
For example, a study found that wearing a back bag altered the mobility of the vertebrae, leading to a reduction in movement, which is one of the risk factors for pain (Surg Radiol Anat 1999) .
Another study demonstrated by the magnetic resonance that wearing the backpack altered the fluid content of the vertebral discs, a risk factor for hernia disc and osteoarthritis (spine 1999).
Another problem that we often forget also associated with the backpack is the risk of falling which increases quickly with the weight of the bag. Thus, students whose backpack weighs 25 % of their body weight show balance problems during normal activities such as stairs or open doors, which increases the risk of falls.
In contrast, students whose backpack weighs 15 % of their body weight have a moderately preserved balance, while those whose backpack weighs 5 % of their body weight have a normal balance (American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 2000).
Difficult to believe that the back bag can be so damaging? 12 lbs on average as weight of the back bag x 10 levers of the bag per day 120 lbs per day x 180 days of school per year 21,600 pounds raised by school year.
It's almost 11 tonnes, or the weight of 6 cars! The previous calculations were made with conservative figures. Indeed, an Italian study determined the average weight of the back bags of students of 6th year primary: 20.5 lbs!
You are convinced of the potential danger of the back bag, and now.
What can you do to preserve the health of your children?
I recommend the following directives:
In your shopping for the backpack ideal :
1. Look for A bag with wide and padded belts on the shoulders. Thin belts penetrate painfully into the shoulders and can harm the blood circulation, causing numbness or tingling in the arm, and even possibly with the time of weaknesses by hand. The padding for its part can absorb part of the load.
2. Find a bag with “S” belts, which are ergonomically designed for children's body.
3. Do not forget to check the weight of the back bag when it is empty. A leather bag will be heavier than a canvas bag.
4. Look for a bag with a strap at the waist or the chest. This contributes to maintaining the weight near the body to help maintain balance.
5. Look for a bag with a built -in support.
6. Look for a bag with a lumbar cushion.
7. Avoid bags with one shoulder belt.
Tips for optimal use of the back bag:
1. At all times, bring the two belts to the shoulders. Wearing the bag on a single shoulder leads to leaning on one side to compensate for the unequal load, bending the spine.
Over time, this can cause pain in the upper or lower back, tension in the shoulders and necks, and contribute to worsening scoliosis in formation. Young teenagers are more at risk for scoliosis.
2. Make sure that the back bag is not too heavy. If your child is bent forward under the weight of the load, the bag is too heavy. It is difficult to determine the ideal weight, because each child is different in terms of their morphology and physical strength.
A guide to follow is to limit the bag to 10 % of their weight for children of 4th year and less, and to 15 % for children of 5th year and more.
3. Distribute the load also through the back. The well the load is well distributed, the less load on the body. Put the heaviest books glued to the back, and lighter objects outside.
4. Adjust the belts of the shoulders so that the bag is well glued to the upper back. The further the bag is far from the back, the more it pulls down and brings tension between the shoulder blades.
5. Use size or chest belts. Keep the load near the COPS. Keep the bag near the hips transfers part of the load to the leg muscles, which are very strong.
6. The lower part of the bag should be in the lower back curve while its upper part arrives at the level of the bump at the bottom of the neck.
7. It is better to make more frequent stops to your locker than carry all your books in your bag!
Copyright 2006 © Dr Yohann Stoycheff D.C.