In recent years there has been a growing interest in wheel/trolley bags as a school bag option. Although not necessarily popular with students, some parents prefer them, based on the assumption that wheel bags may be helpful in reducing the load on their children’s spines, therefore lowering the risk of damage to a healthy spine.
The concern is justified, given that research has shown that up to two thirds of teenage children have experienced back pain. Moreover, most chiropractors are of the opinion that some adult spinal ailments may have had their origin in childhood, including poor posture from carrying school bags.
Over the last 10 years we have seen real and positive change in the way children carry their books to and from school. Studies have shown that shoulder and spinal pain is reduced by 25% when backpacks are used in preference to hand satchels or single strapped bags. Bag manufacturers, schools, parents and students have responded and backpacks are now the overwhelming bag of choice. Even more pleasing, most wear them on both shoulders.
So what about trolley bags? We use them at airports to move heavy luggage. Is the trolley bag the next step up from the backpack?
The airport and school-ground are different environments. Some concerns in relation to the use of wheel bags by school children include:
- Wheeling bags across uneven/unpaved surfaces will be a danger to the user and could cause jarring to the shoulder and upper spine. Injuries may result from tripping or falling
- Wheeling bags into awkward places, small turing areas, etc. will inevitably lead to students lifting the bags. The twisting of the body and the strain placed on the arm, or arms, could lead to musculo-skeletal pain and damage to the spine
- Wheel bags are unsuitable for going up and down stairs, getting on and off buses and for students riding their bikes to school
- There would be definite stress placed on the spine arising from the use of wheel bags. In a recent test students began to complain of back pain after only three days of using wheel bags. This pain was most likely due to twisting and overloading one side of the body which can lead to postural change, upper extremity damage and will certainly compromise correct spinal alignment
- It is realistic to expect that many students will not comply with the correct use of wheel bags and , as a result, put their spinal health at risk.
In certain individual situations, trolley bags may be useful. However, backpacks remain the best option for most students. For more information visit www.chiropak.com.
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