Can Backpacks Cause Scoliosis?

Studies involving thousands of children have proven a direct relationship between backpack weight and back pain; the heavier the backpack becomes, the more back pain children report feeling. 

A 2010 study on 11 year olds has shown in great detail what effect a heavy backpack has on a child’s spine. Children were given an MRI scan without a backpack on, and then with a backpack on, and they gradually they increased the weight in the backpack. 

When the weight of the backpack went from 10% of the child’s body weight to 15%, the researchers were able to see compression of the discs. The researchers concluded that “backpack loads are responsible for a significant amount of back pain in children“.

They also saw that the spine began to curve, which was probably because the child was trying to find a comfortable position. This exacerbates the problem because these rotated positions are actually weaker and less able to withstand the compression.

This change in the curve of the spine is called a scoliosis, and up until recently it was believed that as kids grew up and grew stronger they would “grow out of it”.

A study published in 2000 that followed 1,060 children from age 11 through to adulthood has taught us otherwise. 

This study found that at 22 years old, only 30% of them were symmetric, meaning 70% had developed or maintained a scoliosis through adolescence. The authors concluded that “the shape of the back develops mainly during the pubertal growth spurt at ages 12 to 14 years in girls and boys”.

Seeing as there is a 70% chance your child will keep the spine they have when they are 14, it’s important they are given every chance at that age to grow up healthy, and if they do have an abnormal curvature, that they be given the appropriate corrective exercises. 

We also know that the way kids sit when they study has a significant impact on not only the development of numerous musculoskeletal conditions, but also on their ability to concentrate and retain information; effectively poor ergonomics limits their ability to learn. 

How much? One study on office workers performing data entry tasks in a bad ergonomic environment found their productivity decreased by as much as 58%. 

Even if poor posture and ergonomics only made a difference of 5% or 10% it would be worth addressing. But to know that it could affect their work by over 50% makes this something that can’t be ignored. It could be a huge advantage to your child to get this right. 

Sitting for long periods is sometimes an essential part of the student experience, with the need to prepare for exams and assignments. One great option is the Sanarte Posture Brace, which can be adjusted to hold your child in the right posture when they are sitting. Check it out today by clicking this link.

All Sanarte products are chosen by health professionals, meaning you can be assured of the quality.

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