There may be something more than just heavy book-bags and the text books within to blame for teens “pain in the back”. If your teen is complaining about a sore back, you might be interested in this new study.
A recent study found that shorter desks and other school furniture were tied to back pain among young teenagers. As the distance between desktops and kids’ elbows increased, the more likely teens — especially girls — were to have back pain.
Based on the findings of their study, the researchers said that it is important to consider school furniture size, as well as to prevent back pain during childhood, as back pain during the adolescent years is a risk factor for back pain in adulthood.
This study, led by Ana Assunção, MSc, from the Biomechanics and Functional Morphology Laboratory at the Technical University of Lisbon, looked at how school furniture and backpack weight affected back pain among teenagers.
The study included about 140 teens in seventh through ninth grades and who were between 12 and 15 years of age. The school furniture in this study included individual chairs and double desks.
Participating teens answered a questionnaire asking them if they had back pain, how much back pain they had and where that pain was located.
Teens who reported having back pain provided possible reasons for having that back pain. The researchers paid particular attention to the teens who had back pain for at least a week sometime over the previous three months.
Students reported which day of the school week that they carried the most materials in their backpacks and had their bags weighed on that day. The kids also had their level of physical activity measured over the course of a week.
The researchers found back pain in 58 percent of the teens. Girls in particular were more than four times as likely to have back pain than boys.
Considering school furniture, the researchers found that the likelihood that teens had upper back pain increased about 39 percent as the distance between the top of the desks and the height of kids’ elbows increased.