Child Orthopedics

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is more important for students carrying a backpack: wearing it over both shoulders or decreasing the amount of weight inside?

A large study of students in Greece reports the carrying method doesn't make a difference in the amount or kind of back pain students experience. They suggest age, height, and gender are the key factors.

Girls nearing puberty have the highest amount of back pain. Shorter children carry more of a load compared to taller children of the same age carrying the same weight. Adding sports to the picture seems to increase the number of students who suffer from back pain.

Although backpack weight varies from day to day, boys and girls carry about the same amount year round. These researchers suggest girls aged 11 to 12 should carry light backpacks. Girls at the same age shouldn't join strenuous sports activities. Shorter children should carry lighter backpacks, too. The backpack can be carried on one or both shoulders.

Panagiotis Korovessis, MD, PhD, et al. Correlation Between Backpack Weight and Way of Carrying, Sagittal and Front Spinal Curves, Athletic Ability, and Dorsal and Low Back Pain in Schoolchildren and Adolescents. In Journal of Spinal Disorders. February 2004. Vol. 17. No. 1. pp. 33-40.

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