Back pain on the rise in children: What’s the right way to wear a backpack?

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With children returning to school after the vacation, there is a possibility of a notable increase in back pain cases caused by improper backpack usage. In the article below, we will outline the proper method for wearing a backpack to prevent back pain.
Many people associate back pain with adults, but it is also prevalent among children. “Back pain is not only associated with a child’s spinal problems but even poor posture that is carrying heavy backpacks, improper sitting positions in class or at home, and frequently looking down at a phone or tablet.“Children in Classes 1 and 2 should use weights between 1.5 kg and 2 kg, while children in Classes 3 to 5 should use weights between 2 kg and 3 kg. For children in Classes 6 to 8, the recommended weight range is between 3 kg and 4 kg, and for children in Classes 9 and 10, the suggested weight is 5 kg, however being said that the lesser the weight on the back the more chances of them having normal growth,” said Dr Pramod Bhor, Director of Orthopedics and Robotic Joint Replacement Surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Vashi.

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Understanding the appropriate weight for a backpack is a good beginning, but selecting the correct backpack is equally crucial. “The bag should have dual straps, and children should wear it comfortably with both straps to evenly distribute the weight on each shoulder. The backpack should not hang below the waist region. Wearing a heavy backpack on one side won’t lead to a curved spine or scoliosis in children, but it will create strain on that side. It’s important to avoid overloading one side of the body, as this can cause muscle fatigue and discomfort when using that side,” said Dr Nitish Arora, Consultant Trauma, Limb Reconstruction, Deformity Correction & Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, Medicover Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.

“Parents should ensure that their child wears their backpack correctly, using both straps to evenly distribute the weight. When they are at home, promote good posture while sitting at a desk or using a phone or tablet. Parents can consult with their child’s doctor about providing vitamin D and calcium supplements, particularly during the winter when there is less sun exposure or if their child participates in indoor sports. If they experience back pain due to their backpack or sitting position at school, making lifestyle adjustments and encouraging physical activity can effectively address the pain and prevent its recurrence,” concluded Dr Bhor.

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