Heavy Backpack

More than 37% of students surveyed in a study by the Portuguese Association Spine Matters say they have back pain, but only 3% have consulted a doctor.

The first phase of a study carried out in Portugal by the Portuguese Association Spine Matters has revealed a worrying reality about the health of Portuguese students.With a sample of 110 students between the 1st and 9th year of schooling, the investigation revealed that 37% of respondents suffer from back pain, but that nevertheless only 3% consulted a doctor in this regard.

The research, which will continue throughout the country in the coming months, reports that it is the 7th year with the highest cargo transported, an average of 7 books per student.

Luís Teixeira, an orthopedic doctor and founder of Spine Matters, warns of the consequences of an inadequate and continuous burden during the school period – and the growth phase of children and adolescents: “We all know that our children continue to carry excessive loads on the days of But it is critical to realize what we are talking about. In fact, the numbers show that there are many students who bear 15% or more of their body weight in school load, a very high percentage and harmful to the spine. ”

According to the doctor, children’s backpacks or bags should not exceed this percentage under penalty of changes in the angles of shoulders, neck, trunk and lower limbs, affecting the posture overall by causing an abnormal curvature of the back.

Poor posture, kyphoses (scoliosis) and scoliosis due to prolonged use are some of the examples of results that may increase the likelihood of suffering from back pain in adult life.In addition to the postural consequences, overweight in backpacks has also been reported as responsible in the long term for frequent headaches and consequent lack of concentration of classes.

“The explanation is simple and lies in the effort, not always conscious, that the child does on a regular basis. Excessive load in a growth phase will clearly condition the same, through a compression of the spine that is manifested after also Other forms, “warns the orthopedist.”One of the most alarming situations we found was the devaluation of back pain in these students,” the doctor explains.

When asked about the chairs, time spent at the desk or study sites, no significant percentage of cases of pain were reported at such times.However, in relation to backpacks, there is an immediate connection and the reaction is reported to parents in 71% of cases.

“However, despite being a constant reality, specialists are not consulted to help and stop the situation. This is a situation that, in adults, we tend not to prioritize, learning to live with it, but it is urgent to demystify this “The pain in the back, such as in the head, throat, stomach or any part of the body, is not part of the normality of a healthy human being,”he recalls.

Three tips from the doctor Luís Teixeira

  1. Weigh your children’s backpacks before they leave home.If the load exceeds 15% of its own weight then it is necessary to remove load.This is a recommendation that must be strictly adhered to, managing the child’s schedule as closely as possible.For example, when not needed, books should stay in school, in lockers.
  2. Look for two-strap backpacks and a good holder, where weight can be supported evenly.On the other hand, when it is impossible to circumvent the measure, the punctual option should be for a suitcase with wheels.Contrary to what is often thought, this is not a solution that solves the problem, but that just minimizes it.In everyday life the correct thing is always to control the load carried.
  3. Correct your children if the backpack is being carried with the loops too loose: when it is near the end of the back, the pressure on the spine is very high.All backpacks should have tight and tight handles so that there is no weight swing.

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