BackCare Awareness Week 2015: Back pain prevention begins at school

It’s BackCare Awareness Week and this year is all about back care in children. Back pain is now the world's leading cause of human disability and together with related musculoskeletal conditions, accounts for a quarter of UK sickness absence. But contrary to popular belief, back pain is not just an adult problem.

One in four UK children have regular or daily back pain

UK charity BackCare recently surveyed 900 secondary school pupils (11-16 years) across the UK, revealing that two thirds of UK secondary pupils have experienced back pain. One in four UK secondary pupils suffers from back pain regularly or every day - this was higher amongst girls (27%) than boys (19%). Neck and shoulder pain were also very common, affecting a similar number.

A number of factors can contribute to back problems such as:

Heavy or tiring school bags:
This was found to be strongly linked to back pain. Half of those surveyed said that their schoolbag often or always felt tiring or too heavy for them. Back pain was ten times more common amongst pupils with heavy or tiring school bags.

Prolonged sitting:
Pupils were also asked to estimate the number of hours they spend sitting per day in the classroom, at meal times, whilst travelling, when doing homework and during their free time. The survey revealed that UK secondary pupils sit for an average of 9 hours per day. Back pain was almost doubled amongst pupils with higher than average sitting times. Studies have linked sitting for more than four hours per day with increased risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression and dementia.

Prevention begins at school!

To read more and help BackCare raise awareness visit: