Students wear back packs when attending school or college. Over 60% of school children with heavy back packs have been found to be suffering from back bone and muscle problems, neck pain and also slouched postures, revealed health experts. They suggested that there is a need to tackle the issue because medically children's bones are soft up to the age of 18 years and the spine is not too strong to carry the weight on their tender shoulders.
Dr. Satnam Singh Chhabra, director, Neuro Spine Department at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, "Not just this, carrying backpacks over one shoulder is a wrong practice, as it makes muscles strain. The spine leans to the opposite side, stressing the middle back, ribs, and lower back more on one side than the other and this muscle imbalance can cause muscle strain, muscle spasm, and back pain. A heavy backpack can pull on the neck muscles, contributing to headache, shoulder pain, lower back pain and neck and arm pain. A lot of times parents come to us complaining about their child's wrong posture. Though we can't do much about their heavy school bags, we advise parents to encourage their children to carry their schoolbags using both shoulders."
Dr. A.B Goregaonkar, professor and head of orthopedics at Mumbai's L.T.M. Medical College and Hospital, emphasized on reforms in the current education system to help children. He said, "There should be compulsory physical education period which will enable children to be fit and flexible. Apart from taking care of their nutrition like proteins, vitamin D, calcium, etc, we suggest children should participate in physical activity and should be encouraged to play outdoor games as this will help them strengthen their muscles and increase their stamina too."
Citing a few measures, Dr. Arvind Kulkarni, head of Spine Scoliosis and Disc Replacement Center at Bombay Hospital, said, "The material of the backpack should be light while adjustable shoulder straps on the back packs are a must. Padded back packs should be preferred, wheels so that the backpack can be pulled rather than carried would be an added advantage. Children should not carry the backpack low, near the hips, as that puts stress on the spine."