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17 October 2011, 06:00
Children are causing long-term damage to their backs by carrying heavy school bags - that's the message of this year's Back Care Awareness week.
Heavy bags can put pressure on the discs between the vertebrae which can cause long term back pain in small and still-developing bodies and children can suffer muscular pain, headaches, tingling and numbness in the arms and legs and even mobility problems.
Osteopath, Catherine Hamilton-Plant who works in Harpenden and Radlett says ‘I read an article once which was saying they weighed some senior school children’s bags where they were weighing more than the postmen were allowed to carry, and that’s obviously in a body that still needs to grow and develop.
‘If they’re very slouched that can lead to shortening to some of the muscles in their necks and in the bottom of their backs which just means they don’t develop as they should do and they’ll certainly get some painful joints as a result of it.’
Suggestions to help include:
Use a backpack rather than a one-shoulder bag.
Buy a sturdy and well-designed bag with wide padded shoulder straps that can be adjusted as the child grows.
Check your child's posture with the bag on. If your child's leaning forward or slouching, check if the bag is too heavy or if it has been packed correctly.
Make sure your child's only carrying the things for that day - remove any unnecessary books and equipment.
Urge your child's school to provide lockers.
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