A recent study published in the medical journal Spine showed an alarming increase in adolescent low back pain in recent years.
In 1994 16% of children 12-15 experienced low back pain.? Just six years?later, in 2002,?that number jumped to 36%. ?The direct cause of this increase is unknown at this point but many lifestyle factors are thought to contribute to these numbers.
- Backpacks - Children are carrying more and morein their backpacks.? As children develop, this increased force could play a part in childhood low back pain.? How much should a child’s backpack weigh?? The pack should be no more than 10% of the child’s weight.
- Determine if your child’s backpack is too heavy - weigh them without the pack, then with the pack. Subtract the two numbers, then take that number and divide by the childs weght. For example a 50 lb child (w/o pack) weighs 60 lbs with pack. Subtract 60lbs - 50lbs = 10 lbs, now divide 10lbs/50lbs = 20%.
- Inactivity - As children grow, they need to be active!? It should come as no suprise that low back pain increases as physical activity decreases.? Make sure that your children take periodic breaks from sitting and move around and stretch.? Also, limit time that is spent in front of the computer and t.v.
For more information regarding backpack safety and low back prevention, visit the American Chiropractic Association website at http://www.americhiro.org/press_css.cfm?CID=104
The course of low back pain from adolescence to adulthood. Spine 2006; 31 (4): 488-72