The numbers of books and homework copies are increased in every school now a days. It is because of updated syllabus and excessive alertness of guardians, the school authorities are also compelled to make their students more intellectuals providing them much home works and class works on all subjects including extra curriculum. Children suffer from different types of injuries every year due to carrying heavy backpack.
The impact of heavy backpack on health
The muscles spasm or become tight carrying heavy backpack on the shoulder for long time. As a result, different types of pain occur due to blood circulation obstruction. Such as shoulder pain, neck pain, back pain, knee pain, headache etc. can be observed.
The balance of the two side of the shoulder does not remain the same due to carrying heavy backpack on one side of the shoulder. As a result, the curvature of the spine are misaligned and the children move their bodies bending a little bit. By carrying heavy backpack, the child’s neck and head bend forward and he looks shorter than as usual and it affects on his posture. Injury to the muscles of the neck, shoulder may happen and sometimes muscles may be torn. Besides, mental health and even internal organ may be affected due to carrying heavy backpack by the children.
What backpack to carry
The American Child Academy suggested to carry 10%-15% of the body weight of the children. For example, if your child is of 40-50 kg, s/he can carry the backpack of 4-5 kg. The Supreme Court of our country has passed a rule regarding school backpack to carry for the children. The court has mentioned that a child should not carry more than 10% of his/her body weight. Backpack should be carried on both sides of the shoulders equally.
Treatment for relieving pain
All Children are requested to get a proper diagnosis for heavy backpack related pain. After obtaining the diagnosis a guardian can meet a physiotherapy specialist for better treatment. A physiotherapist can take necessary treatment as stated below. Manual therapy like applying ice compression in the muscles of shoulder and neck for 10-15 minutes twice a day can be advised.
As per instruction of physiotherapist, various types of exercises, manual therapy, stretching exercises and massage therapy can be adapted.Electrotherapy (IRR, TENS, UST) is very much effective modalities for relieving pain and muscle spasm.
Responsibility of school authority
The school authority can play the main role to protect the children to avoid using heavy backpack. It has no necessity for doing home works. All lessons can be taught and done when children are in school premises.
Students are to be inspired to take their textbook only according to the routine. Some books of school works, note books can be kept in the school library. Group works can be adapted or encouraged to reduce the pressure of taking more books. Besides this, school authority can arrange to provide safe water for all to avoid taking water bottle. In addition to that, for the fitness of children, the scope of playing football, volleyball, tennis etc can be arranged.
Responsibility of the guardians
All guardians have to play an important role to avoid heavy backpack. We often observe guardians use to keep school books, different class work copies of coaching centre in the same backpack. It causes the backpack heavier. They can choose different backpack for different purposes.
All guardians should provide a balance diet, various types of colourful fruits and vegetables other than frozen and junk foods to their children.
It is better not to let our children carry heavy backpack. Please provide your optimum efforts to your children to have sound health and let them abide by the rules and regulations in regard to health matters.
The writer is a Physiotherapist working at Ad-din Barrister Rafikul Huq Hospital, Dhaka. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org