Home > Blog > Back Pain and School Bags

Back Pain and School Bags



Can you imagine the amount of discomfort, pain, and even damage that can happen to your back and neck when you carry a heavy bag on one side of your neck and shoulder?

Imagine if that happens for years and years.

And THAT is what our children, teenagers and even adults have been doing for years and years, not realizing that repeated action of carrying heavy bags on one side (or even with both shoulders) can damage their soft and hard tissues around their spine, shoulders, hips, knees and more.

Many of these children who develop back pain in their childhood, will likely to have their back pain evolve into long term chronic back and neck pains and problems in their adults years...as well as into late adulthood and life a whole, if situation doesn't change, of:

  • the situation of heavy school bags (one sided carry or both shoulder carry)
  • carrying repeatedly for years on end

Many of these children who develop back pain, develop into chronic back and neck problems in their adult years, and well into late adulthood and life, if left untreated or unmanaged.

Other health and postural issues that may arise from these repetitive strain injuries:

  • soft tissue tears
  • muscle strains
  • disruption to the natural "S" shape curve in the spine bones
  • chronic fatigue and tiredness
  • neck pains
  • rounded shoulders

As a parent (or if you have back/neck pains because of the same problems of heavy school bags), you can help reduce the risk by:

  • buying appropriate sized school bags that distribute load better (better still, school bags that have wheels)
  • ensuring that their school bags are not too heavy for them
  • where possible, get school lockers where they can leave heavy books/items in school to minimize distance/time to carry heavy school bags

Back Pain and School bags:
Risk Factors

  • The school bag must not weigh more than 10% of the child/student's weight. Eg a 50 KG student should carry at max 5 KG load in his/her school bag
  • Do not carry school bags only on one shoulder
  • Do not hold the bag in one hand (like carrying a briefcase)
  • Try to "centralize" the weight in the back pack (rather than having one side more heavy than the other)
  • Try to correctly fit the back pack to the person
  • Buy the correct size and shape back pack to the person

And example of back pack being slung too low (bottom of bag way below buttocks), poorly fitted bag and maybe even too heavy such that the child needs to lean forward to compensate

Back Pain and Schoolbags:
Buy the right kind of schoolbags

Any given time, school children always should have a back pack as compared to having a side sling bag, for better distribution of weight.

Some factors to consider:

  • Where possible, look for a school bag/backpack that has been endorsed by a health care organization, such as Physiotherapy Association of Allied Health Professions Council/Associations in your country
  • Please do not try to save money by buying the biggest back pack for your children/self, to stretch the use of the bag over time. Children and people need to have school bags and back packs that are just right for them. Anything too small or too big, they will have to compensate their posture and movements.
  • Choose a school bag backpack with a frame/adjustable hip strap, so that the weight of the back can and will be carried by your child's pelvis instead of their shoulders, back and neck.
  • The shoulder straps need to be wider for better support (the wider, the more support BUT the warmer it'd be) and padded for extra comfort and support. Straps need to be adjustible.
  • Ideally, the backpack should have a few separate compartments to separate out packing/storage
  • Canvas and plastic school bags are ALWAYS LIGHTER than leather ones
  • School bags can be quite personal, so please bring your children along when buying their bags (especially so if they're more conscious of their style and also minding peer pressure). If you choose a bag for them that YOU know is good but "not cool/hip" enough for them, they may end up carrying it in a less-than-ideal way to look cooler (such as carrying bags over one side of the shoulder).

Back Pain and Schoolbags:
Pack the backpack correctly

  • School bags/backpacks including all its content should not weight more than 10% of your child's body weight. Eg a 50 KG student should carry at max 5 KG load in his/her school bag.
  • Please pack the heaviest items as close as possible to the child's back - this will bring the center of gravity closer to the child and decrease the risk of muscle strains in the back and neck (and decrease "see-saw moves" (happens when there is a lighter load between a heavier load, there the child adopts a see-saw movement pattern)
  • Following to the point above, please show and teach your child how to ensure that items are securely fasted in the school bag as the child move - this will

    a. prevent their balance from being thrown off (decreasing risks of injuries and falls from loss of balance)
    b. prevent "see-saw movements"

Correct lifting and carrying techniques

  • The bottom of the school bag/backpack needs to be located ABOVE your child's waist. It shouldn't be located low eg at the buttocks
  • School bags that are fitted well to the child will follow the shape of the child's back and body, rather than "hang off their shoulders"
  • Please try to ensure the weight is adequate for them - your child needs to be able to lift the school bag with a straight bag using their thigh muscles, before slipping one arm through one strap and then the other arm through the other.
  • If you notice that your child has to leave one side to counterbalance the weight of the bag, then it's very likely that their back pack is too heavy for them, wrongly packed or doesn't fit well.
  • Please try to share and teach your child to understand that carrying backpacks or school bags over one shoulder will cause back pains, neck pains, hip pains and more.

Good back pack, fitted to child and even has roller wheels!



Back to Top

book an appointment today
(or check your pains / injuries)

Phoenix Rehab Physio Services

Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.



HAND THERAPY & CUSTOMIZED SPLINTING

Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists (sprains and fractures) and fingers, usually will benefit / require Hand Therapy to

  1. manage and decrease hand pains
  2. improve range of motion, strength and dexterity
  3. increase the function of their hand following injuries or post-operations

Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes



REFORMER CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES

Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing.

It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions.

You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.



TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)

  • Cupping TCM
  • Auricular Therapy TCM
  • Herbal TCM Medicine & Supplementation



DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY

Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and  shorten downtime / recovery period required.

It also prevents muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle performance. Having regular deep tissue and sports massage will keep your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence.

Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.



ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).

See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.

At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.

Follow up sessions are inline to provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

do Tell Your Family, Friends And Colleagues About Us =)

We appreciate you as our valued clients and want you to know that the # 1 way we grow as a clinic / brand is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.

We prefer not to rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the chance, please tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our physio clinics.

book an appointment today
(or check your pains / injuries)

Recent Articles

  1. Adele Ang Principal Physiotherapist Singapore

    Jun 29, 22 08:32 AM

    Adele is a registered physiotherapist with over 25 years of experience including treating national athletes as well as recreational athletes having worked in Singapore Sports Council and Singapore Spo…

    Read More

  2. Achilles Tendon Pain Physiotherapy

    Feb 03, 22 04:05 AM

    Achilles tendon pain is very common among recreational and elite sportspeople. But it is also common among sedentary individuals

    Read More

  3. Tendonitis Physiotherapy & Hand Therapy

    Feb 03, 22 12:16 AM

    Tendonitis, tendinopathy and tendinosis are all tendon injuries and treated by physiotherapists and hand therapists

    Read More

  4. Cervical Spondylosis Physiotherapy

    Jan 11, 22 02:01 AM

    Cervical spondylosis is a general term to describe the degenerative condition in the neck which results in pain and other symptoms

    Read More

  5. Tendon Pain Tendinopathy Physiotherapy

    Jan 07, 22 12:28 AM

    Tendinopathy (tendon injuries) can develop in any tendon of the body and has many names such as tendinitis and it can be treated with good tendon physiotherapy

    Read More

  6. The importance of staging and compression in tendinopathy physio

    Dec 15, 21 01:47 AM

    Tendon problems are common in runners and can become a persistent issue if not properly treated.

    Read More

  7. Tendon Pain Physiotherapy and Hand Therapy

    Dec 14, 21 11:23 PM

    Pain and pathology in a tendon, known as tendinopathy, is a common injury in athletes that can be difficult to manage. Physio and hand therapy can help healing

    Read More

  8. Tendon Injuries Physiotherapy, Hand Therapy, TCM & Massage

    Dec 07, 21 01:31 AM

    We use the world’s best tendon recovery programs through cutting edge treatment techniques for all tendon injuries (and tendon injuries differ accordingly)

    Read More

  9. Physiotherapy and Hand Therapy at Tampines Singapore

    Nov 28, 21 12:08 AM

    Phoenix Rehab Physiotherapy and Hand Therapy at Tampines Singapore

    Read More

  10. Mallet Finger Tendon Injury Rupture Hand Therapy

    Nov 17, 21 12:30 AM

    Mallet finger is an injury to the thin tendon that straightens the end joint of a finger or thumb.

    Read More