Schools to blame for rising back pain?

Rising back pain in childrenBack pain in children is on the increase and experts want to know why.

Now an informal study carried out in South Wales by physiotherapist Helena Webb has revealed that school-life could be to blame.

Results show that the percentage of paediatric referrals to physiotherapy for back and neck pain increased by 2.4% between September 2011 and March 2012.

This data backs up previous studies showing that almost half of all secondary school children experience occasional backache, making them four times more likely to suffer back pain as adults.

Experts conclude rising back pain prevalence in young people may be down to heavy school bags and badly designed classroom furniture combined with increasingly sedentary lifestyles and bad posture.

Today children tend to be driven everywhere and spend much of their spare time playing computer games or watching telly. These habits encourage weight gain and increase the strain on joints and muscles, increasing the likelihood of future health problems.

Back-ache affects up to 95% of the population and is thought to cost the economy around £10 billion a year in lost productivity, absenteeism and benefits.

Ms Webb said: “We really need to educate parents, teachers and children about the safe weight for school bags, the correct way of carrying bags and the importance of sitting on appropriate furniture in the classroom.”

If children can learn to look after their backs from a young age, they will greatly minimise their chances of developing more severe problems as adults.

Later this year Ms Webb will speak to a group of primary and secondary school teachers as part of the annual Healthy Schools Scheme for teacher training.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has expressed approval of these moves and has said it aims to continue highlighting the detrimental effects heavy schoolbags can have on children’s backs as part of its ‘Move for Health’ campaign.

To find out how physiotherapy could benefit you or your child, please head over to our Physiotherapy page.

View and comment on the original Wales Online article.

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Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

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