A growing number of adolescents have begun to complain of chronic backache. Lifestyle choices,carrying of heavy school bags,and unhealthy eating habits at a younger age,are the main reasons behind the backaches and muscular pains in adolescence. Experts from the PGIMER discussed about the severity of the problem,its main causes and most importantly,the solution to it.
Dr Babita Ghai,pain clinic,PGI said,This year,around 25% of chronic back ache complainants were in the age group of 20-30 years. The trend is declining as far as the age of the complainants is concerned. It can be said that the seeds of this widespread problem are sown during the school days of the children.
She added that heavy schools bags,a changing life style,unhealthy eating habits,low physical activity and incorrect posture are some of the reasons behind body ache.
The weight of the school bag should not be more than the 10%-15% of the body weight,but according to the study conducted by a doctor on school children,it was found that more than 30% of children were carrying school bags with more than 10% of body weight.
Recently,a pilot study was conducted by doctors of the Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine,PGIMER,on the prevalence of backaches in school children vis-a-vis weight of school bags and other postural life style factors.
The project was undertaken on a total of 75 adolescents,aged 11-15 years. On inquiry into the occurrence of pain,12 complained of backache,21 and 25 complained of shoulder pain and headache respectively,and 35 had experienced excessive fatigue.
It was found that the children were made to carry heavy bags to the schools. The average weights of the school bags were 7 kg (class-8),5.5 kg (class-9) and 6 kg (class 10). As far as the postural style is concerned,38 out of 75 used to watch TV in a lying down/ semi-reclining posture,which is an unhealthy habit.
It was concluded that school bag weight,footwear fitment and other postural habits must be kept in mind while dealing with adolescents with backaches or other loco-moter complaints.
Experts suggested that there should be a locker system at schools,so that students need not carry heavy bags every day. Also one should buy school bags with padded straps,and should carry it on both shoulders rather that stressing one side.
The doctors stressed on the physical activity of the children. According to a study,a child from10-18 years of age should indulge in physical activity for at least three hours a day. But sadly,these days children are more interested in playing video games, Dr Babita said.