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Teen Girls at Highest Risk of Schoolbag-Linked Back Pain

Adolescent girls have highest risk of severe back pain regardless of schoolbag load

WEDNESDAY, July 6, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Adolescent girls have the highest risk of suffering from intense back pain related to schoolbag use, according to a study published in the June issue of The Spine Journal.

Irene Aprile, M.D., from the Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation in Italy, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study involving 5,318 healthy pupils aged 6 to 19 years to examine back pain due to schoolbag use. Participants were interviewed face to face using an ad hoc questionnaire. Pain intensity was assessed using the Wong scale. Participants were classified into two groups: no or mild pain and moderate or severe pain.

The researchers found that more than 60 percent of participants reported pain. Schoolbag-related pain increased significantly from children to young and older adolescents despite a decrease in load. More frequent and more severe pain was reported by girls compared with boys. Adolescent girls were found to be at greatest risk of suffering from intense pain. Schoolbag load weakly impacted back pain, while carrying time was a strong predictor.

“Adolescent girls have the highest risk of experiencing severe back pain, regardless of schoolbag load. This suggests that other factors (anatomical, physiological, or environmental) might play an important role in pain perception,” the authors write. “These aspects should be investigated to plan appropriate preventive and rehabilitative strategies.”

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