Protect your child from back problems

Almost half of secondary-school kids get back pain – and it can be made worse by overloaded and improperly-worn backpacks…

Taking the strain...

School children are incomplete without their trusty rucksack, and it’s one of the most convenient ways to transport homework folders and textbooks – if it’s worn properly and not overloaded. But if your child has to pack it full of heavy books and then slings it over one shoulder she’s at increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries and back pain.

Studies carried out by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy indicate that almost half of all children of secondary school age get occasional backache and that back pain in adolescence can mean youngsters are four times more likely to suffer it in adulthood. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that many children take little physical exercise to strengthen their muscles, and that the media age has them slumped in front of TVs and computers – not ideal for good posture.


A backpack that's too heavy also makes muscles work harder, leading to strain and fatigue, and making your child's neck, shoulders and back more vulnerable to injury.

Back injuries can occur if your child crams too much in her backpack – especially if she tries to compensate by arching her back, bending forward, twisting or leaning to one side. These postural adaptations can cause improper spinal alignment, which hampers functioning of the disks that provide shock absorption. A backpack that’s too heavy also makes muscles and soft tissue work harder, leading to strain and fatigue. This leaves the neck, shoulders, and back more vulnerable to injury.

Tips for safe backpack use


Find out more

Chartered Society of Physiotherapists: Download its information pamphlet, Backs for the Future.


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