Back pain in school children--where to from here?

Applied Ergonomics
Fiona C Trevelyan, Stephen J Legg

Abstract

Back pain is now recognised to occur early in childhood and is associated with high prevalence rates when estimated by survey. This review paper considers the risk factors associated with back pain in children aged 11-14 years, and particularly those present in a school setting. The risk factors most significantly associated with back pain are primarily characteristics of the individual with less strong associations with factors present in the school environment. The majority of intervention studies undertaken in a school setting have focussed on the effect of school furniture on posture and comfort and were of short-term duration. There is a need for further research in order to achieve a better understanding of the risk factors present in a school environment and to address ways to reduce the currently recognised perceived problem of back pain among school children. A strategy for an evidence-based longitudinal intervention study is proposed, with the content outlined under the headings: policy, school equipment and furniture, individual and family.

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