Today’s good reads come from New York Times’ Wellness Blog.
This article exposes the risk of heavy backpacks and school children’s back. It is quite alarming to know that these children could carry up to 15-25% of their bodyweight on their back! I can imagine children complaining but I do find it hard to substantially say that this could lead to scoliosis, back pain when they reach their 40s and other claims in the article.
Is the back pain coming from carrying a heavy bookbag, or is it from children not playing outside as much as I did when I was younger. Or for sitting in front of TV, iPad, texting, or simply poor posture that accounts for over 60% of the day vs a short period of time that children have to actually walk and not jump in the SUV for an easy ride. Are we as a society trying to put blame on carrying textbooks for back issues instead of looking at the whole situation. Your body adapts to demands and yes, if you are inactive and then put a heavy pack on your back to walk, yes it will hurt. My older patients joke to say, “I had to walk to school uphill both ways, in the snow!”. Did this create their knee OA now? No.
I cannot access the full article but basically there was improvement in leg and back pain in all 3 groups (epidural steroid injection, etanercept, saline solution) but no discernible differences between each after 1 month. Definitely limitations in the study but can be of benefit to educate your patients.
Quote from the lead author in the article sums it up, “the strongest evidence for back pain is with exercise”.