Josep Vidal, Pere A. Borràs, Francisco J. Ponseti, Jaume Cantallops, Francisco B. Ortega, Pere Palou

April 2013, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 782 - 787 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-012-2558-7

First Online: 10 November 2012


Population based studies have demonstrated that children and adolescents often complain of low back pain. A group-randomized controlled trial was carried out to investigate the effects of a postural education program on school backpack habits related to low back pain in children aged 10–12 year.


The study sample included 137 children aged 10.7 years (SD = 0.672). Six classes from two primary schools were randomly allocated into experimental group (EG) (N = 63) or control group (CG) (N = 74). The EG received a postural education program over 6 weeks consisting of six sessions, while the CG followed the usual school curriculum. A questionnaire was fulfilled by the participants at pre-test, post-test, and 3 months after the intervention finished. The outcomes collected were: (1) try to load the minimum weight possible, (2) carry school backpack on two shoulders, (3) belief that school backpack weight does not affect to the back, and (4) the use of locker or something similar at school. A sum score was computed from the four items.


Single healthy items mostly improved after the intervention and remained improved after 3-month follow-up in EG, while no substantial changes were observed in the CG. Healthy backpack use habits score was significantly increased at post-test compared to baseline in the EG (P < 0.000), and remained significantly increased after 3-month, compared to baseline (P = 0.001). No significant changes were observed in the CG (P > 0.2).


The present study findings confirm that children are able to learn healthy backpack habits which might prevent future low back pain.

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