Association between bag weight, carrying style and low back pain and spinal curvatures among school children in Accra, Ghana
AbstractBackground: Carrying school bags forms part of the daily routine of school children in the Accra Metropolis. Carrying of these heavy school bags has been found to have negative musculoskeletal effects on developing children. We set out to determine the association between bag weight, carrying style and deviations in the normal curvature as well as low back pain among school children. Methods: This cross-sectional study involved school children who were selected from 20 public and private schools, in Ablekuma South. Participants and school bags were weighed using a weighing scale. The vertical plumb line was used to screen for sagittal and frontal curvatures and the backpack questionnaire was used to obtain data. Chi square and one-way ANOVA were used to determine the association between the relative weights of the bags, the carrying style, spinal curvature and low back pain among the school children. Results: Out of 624 participants recruited, 90.2% used backpacks as school bags. There was a significant association between the carrying style and spinal curvatures – frontal and sagittal curvature (p = 0.005 & 0.003 respectively), but not low back pain (p = 0.962). The bag weight was significantly associated with sagittal curvature (p = 0.000) but not for frontal curvature (p = 0.784) and low back pain (p = 0.914). Conclusion: Carrying of heavy school bags consequently affects forward deviation of the spine in the sagittal plane. The carrying style also has an effect on the spinal curvature. However, the bag weight and carrying style have no significant effect on the occurrence of low back pain.
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