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Effects of backpack loads on the late adolescent spine

Griffiths, Sian and Visser, Karen 2013. Effects of backpack loads on the late adolescent spine. APCP Journal 4 (1) , pp. 7-18.

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Background and purpose: Lower back pain (LBP) is a growing concern in adolescents aged 13-20 years. Evidence suggests LBP in young people can be associated with heavy backpacks carried daily for lengthy periods causing biomechanical and postural adaptations, changingmuscle activation and fatigue. Evidence focuses on largermuscles, e.g. erector spinae, whilst effects on specific trunk muscles remain unclear. This investigation measured effects of different backpack loads on bilateral multifidus (M) and iliocostalis lumborum (IL) muscle activity during treadmill walking. Method: School of Health Care Studies Research Ethics Committee, Cardiff University, granted ethical approval. Twelve healthy volunteers with a mean age of 20 participated. Average bilateral M and ILmuscle activity was recorded using surface electromyography (SEMG), during 3 maximum voluntary contractions (MVC), and whilst treadmill walking carrying randomly assigned backpacks loaded with 0%, 10% and 15% of participant’s body weight (BW). Thirty seconds average bilateral muscle activity after 4 minutes and 30 seconds of treadmill-walking was expressed as a percentage of MVC and inputted into Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16, for analysis. Results: Right IL data was normally distributed and therefore analysed using a paired parametric t-test. Left IL and bilateral M data was not normally distributed and therefore analysed using Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Two conditions were compared in each statistical test, significance level p<0.05. Bonferroni Correction was used to set significance levels to p>0.01. Conclusion: There was no statistically significant difference in bilateral M and IL muscle activity, when walking up to 5 minutes, with backpack loads of 0%, 10% and 15% BW. Research evidence supports these findings, suggesting backpack loads of 15% BW being an appropriate limitation for young people walking for this time period. Further research investigating effects of prolonged heavy backpack use in children and young adults is recommended.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Publisher: Association of Peadiatric Chartered Physiotherapists
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Last Modified: 05 Mar 2019 12:29

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