Back to School – Backpacks

by Peter on September 1, 2019

It’s that time of year again – Back to School!  Today I want to educate parents on proper backpack safety so their children may reduce possible injury from backpack poor-positioning and overweighting which can drastically changes the sagittal balance of the child possibly leading to repetitive injury and pain.

Using Posture Screen program, I can quickly and objectively perform fast pre-post posture assessments to help educate parents and hopefully prevent children from weighting their backpacks more then 10-15% of their body weight all while encouraging them to use both straps, and using rolling bags and lockers when at all possible. 

How do I assess this? Simply I do an initial assessment like normal of my patient/client. Next I do a follow up assessment with them with their backpack. I then generate a normal comparative report. Then I can educate the client/patient/parent on the changes noted and offer suggestions based on my professional experience.

Can’t make it in for an appointment. No worries. Just send me posture pictures of you child with and without a backpack on. I can make the assessments and email them back to you, no charge. 

Peter Roach, RMT, NMT, Laser Therapist



Though seen as a convenient method of carrying books and other scholastic materials including food items, schoolbags are believed to contribute to back and other musculoskeletal problems in school going children. This study set out to determine the prevalence of low back and other musculoskeletal pains and describe their relationship with schoolbag use in pupils.


This was a cross-sectional descriptive study involving 532 pupils from six primary schools with a mean age of 13.6 years. Analyses included the chi- square test, independent t tests, regression analysis and test for trend across ordered groups. Backpacks were the most common type of schoolbag and younger children carried disproportionately heavier bags. Urban pupils were younger, carried significantly heavier bags, and less likely to complain about schoolbag weight than the rural pupils. About 30.8% of the pupils carried schoolbags which were more than 10% of their body weight. About 88.2% of pupils reported having body pain especially in the neck, shoulders and upper back. About 35.4% of the children reported that carrying the schoolbag was the cause of their musculoskeletal pain. The prevalence of lower back pain was 37.8%. There was significant association between low back pain and; method of bag carriage (p < 0.0001), long duration of walking (odds ratio 2.67, 95% CI 1.38- 5.16) and the time spent sitting after school (p = 0.02). Only 19% had lockers at school.


Urban pupils were younger, carried significantly heavier bags, and less likely to complain about schoolbag weight than the rural pupils. The majority of pupils complained of musculoskeletal pain of which 35.4% was attributed to the schoolbags.The prevalence of lower back pain was 37.8%. Schools need to provide lockers and functional libraries in order to avoid excessive loading and repetitive strain injuries.

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