Association Between Heavy Backpack Usage and Spinal Deformities Among Grade IV Students in San Vicente Elementary School, Biñan, Laguna of Academic Year 2013 – 2014
Over 92% of children in the United States carry backpacks that exceed 10 to 15 per cent of their body weight, many of which are at risk of backache (Rodriguez-Oviedo et. al., 2012).
In the past few years, there has been a growing concern among teachers, school administrators, parents,and health care professionals over the effect of school backpacks on spinal and shoulder problems in children and adolescents (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2006Balague, Skovron, Nordin, Dutoit, Pol, and Waldburger, 1995Grimmer, Williams, Gill, 1999.Iyer, 2001, Negrini and Carabalona,2002Rateau2004Wiersman, Wall, and Foad, 2003 in Moore et.al., 2007).
Chronic musculoskeletal pain in school children, caused by the weight of carry-on items in the school backpack, has been established as a significant problem (Guyer, 2001). Pain represents a symptom, not a sign. Though the perception of pain is very personal and subjective, several factors probably affect pain among school children who carry backpacks including the actual weight carried, body mass index, percent body fat, muscular strength, exercise habits, smoking habits, diet and nutrition, mood, design of shoes worn, posture and gait, and presence or absence of scoliosis (Iyer, 2000).
While research indicates that thousands of backpack injuries result yearly from factors other than carrying the backpack (eg, tripping over them, taking them off improperly, straps getting entangled in bicyclegears, etc),(American Academy of Pediatrics, 2006; Wiersman, Wall, and Foad, 2003; Lockhart, Jacobs, and Orsmond, 2004), the primary concern of many school personnel and parents is the long-term use of heavy backpacks as the routine method of carrying books and other articles to, from, and at school which may negatively influence one’s spinal curvature (in Moore et.al., 2007 Ramona, 2010).
Several studies prove that the posture of the spine changes when the weight of the backpack increases (Cottalorda, et.al., 2004). This is reflected with spinal deformities that usually occur during the juvenile age, often diagnosed as Scoliosis, Kyphosis and Lordosis, or a combination of both (Ramova, 2010). However, while it is proven that adolescents who suffer from back pain will probably have chronic back pain as adults, there is no sufficient evidence as to our knowledge demonstrating a relationship between the development of spinal deviation and the weight of the backpack.
Early detection is a key to the successful management of treating spinal deformities and preventing its progression. In lieu with this, it is of grave importance to realize that aside from known causes of pediatric spinal deformities, it is a must to put emphasis on the children’s modern way of life which may further aggravate or directly cause one’s spinal condition.
At this juncture, the researchers of the department of Pediatrics have decided to conduct a study entitled: Association Between Heavy Backpack Usage and Spinal Deformities Among Grade IV Students in San Vicente Elementary School, Biñan, Laguna of Academic Year 2013 – 2014 which aims to determine the association between heavy backpack usage and spinal deformities among Grade IV students.