Co-relation between heavy schools bags and spinal deformity

It is known fact that school going kids face tremendous amount of stress and strain when it comes to carrying the load of their backpacks. If your child ever complaints about a backache or you find their bags too heavy, you need to take cognisance of the issue.

Carrying heavy schools bags leads to increased strain on the muscles, which results in unusual posture and spine alignment is affected too. This can led to serious spinal deformities. While kids may not exhibit immediate symptoms, but initial back pain is the first indicator that things will be worse very soon.

In the long run, they may develop body imbalances which may further lead to deterioration of nervous system. This may make them highly susceptible to injuries. Neglecting these aspects might lead to Spinal Deformity also known as ‘Kyphoscoliosis’ in the long run; it is described as an abnormal curvature of the spine.

In the recent past, the Maharashtra State had enforced a regulation that school going kids must not carry a load that exceeds 10 percent of their current body weight. This entails that a child weighing 60kg should not carry a load of more than 6kg.

If left ignored, there could be severe complications that may include:

  • Lower back curvature
  • Lumbar Asymmetry
  • Disc compression
  • Damage to shoulder tissues
  • Inhibited mobility in the hands and finger agility
  • Nerve damage

For parents, it is best to be informed of certain vulnerabilities so they could assist their child to prevent skeletal and muscular damage.

What precautionary measures should be taken?

  • Encourage your child to be more active and discourage them from sitting in an atypical position
  • Visits to the doctor in cases of discomfort or pain
  • Select a backpack that is appropriate for your child’s height, it should be light weight but strong
  • Carrying the schoolbag on a single shoulder should be avoided. Make sure that your child uses both padded straps. This promotes good posture
  • Ensure the bag is placed at least two inches above the waist, evenly at the middle of the back

Schools should also lend support to the students and the teachers by regularly conducting back strengthening exercises or yoga, to keep such risks at bay.

 (Writer is Dr Raghavendra KS., Consultant Joint Replacement & Spine Surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan)

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