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Back To School

Back To School


It’s that time of year again, back to school. Time to dust off the school bags and lunchboxes and start the school run again. We hear plenty of discussion about the pressure school children are under to succeed at school, but what about the physical stresses of carrying heavy school bags and sitting long hours at a desk? Studies show that school bags weigh on average 15.2% of body weight (Casey and Dockrell, 1996). A large proportion of children also carry their bags inefficiently, for example slung over one shoulder. This pressure on the developing spine could lead to back pain or neck pain.

It’s important for parents to encourage children to leave unnecessary equipment or books in school to reduce the load. The type of bag is important. The ideal school bag is a back pack with wide, padded straps and a belt around the waist. Also the way a school bag is carried is very important. Encouraging children to carry backpacks over both shoulders will help distribute the weight evenly.

Also with advances in modern technology, many children are using laptops for school projects. But often, ergonomics for children do not get the same attention as those for adults. It’s important for children to sit at a desk if using a laptop. This helps avoid the slouched posture adopted when sitting at a couch. A separate mouse and keyboard are important, and raising the level of the laptop should help correct posture and reduce the strain on the child’s back. See the ISCP website for more information on correct use of computers in the home.

If your child is experiencing pain or discomfort your chartered physiotherapist can provide advice on exercises to help relieve the problem or manual therapy to treat back and neck pain. In summary it’s important children have a good balance between school work and activity. Regular breaks from the desk are important and keeping up levels of physical activity can help prevent musculoskeletal pain.

All our Chartered Physiotherapists follow Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists guidelines when treating children




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