Schoolchildren tormented by 'bag'pain

Schoolchildren tormented  by 'bag'pain

The number of such backpack injuries caused by carrying heavy school bags are on the rise.  More children are now complaining about the stress and pain on their shoulder, a malaise which ergonomists term ‘Repetitive Strain Injury’ (RSI).

Mohan, the 11-year-old son of Sandhya, has been complaining of neck and back pain. But it was not just due to carrying heavy school bags but also climbing four floors to reach his classroom. Initially the boy’s parents ignored the complaints. But when they eventually took him to different doctors, the malaise was diagnosed as RSI.

Manual techniques

Ten-year-old Harish carries his school bag which weighs five kg. He developed neck and shoulder pain and underwent manual techniques and exercises. His father Venkatesh says although Harish’s pain reduced subsequently, he does complain about pain in his neck sometimes.

Dr Ahmad Javaid, RSI specialist and ergonomist says that he has seen more than 25 children with such problems in the last two years. 

“The number of cases is a serious concern.  What is more alarming is the fact that most parents ignore children's complaints about back problems. Moreover, if the child is addicted to laptops or computers, the pain only gets aggravated. Many a time, the injury gets wrongly diagnosed which delays the line of treatment for the child,” he said.

Normally, for such stress related pain, an orthopaedician is recommended. But many times the doctors end up prescribing pain killers. However, there is a need to completely relieve the pain and then work on strengthening the affected muscles, added Dr Javaid.

Dr Shelza Gupta, RSI specialist and egronomist said that she too had received over 20 children in the age group of 10-15 years for back pack injuries. “Children normally stoop due to the pain; there are many cases where the child is unable to even write since neck muscles play a role in writing. We normally release their pain through physical modalities and later teach them exercises to strengthen their muscles,” she added.

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