Low back pain in 15- to 16-year-old children in relation to school furniture and carrying of the school bag

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2007 Nov 15;32(24):E713-7. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31815a5a44.


Study design: Cross-sectional sample with longitudinal information.

Objective: To estimate the relationship between the occurrence of low back pain (LBP) and various types of school furniture and anthropometric dimensions in schoolchildren, and physical loading by school bag carrying.

Summary of background data: Some types of school furniture may be hypothesized to prevent or cause LBP. Despite strong opinions in the public debate about a possible relationship between use of various types of school furniture and LBP, scientific research on this matter is sparse.

Methods: Five hundred forty-six schoolchildren aged 14 to 17 years answered a questionnaire about sitting positions during school hours and the presence and severity of LBP. Furthermore, the anthropometric dimensions and the weight of the school bags were measured. The types and dimensions of the school furniture were described and measured. In multivariate analyses was adjusted for physical activity and other possible risk factors.

Results: More than half of the adolescents experienced LBP during the preceding 3 months, and 24.2% reported reduced daily function or care seeking because of LBP. LBP occurrence was not associated with the types or dimensions of the school furniture or body dimensions, but was positively associated with carrying the school bag on 1 shoulder [OR: 2.06 (1.29-3.31)].

Conclusion: The present study does not support the hypothesis of different types of school furniture being a causative or preventing factor for LBP. Carrying the school bag in an asymmetric manner may play a role.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ergonomics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interior Design and Furnishings*
  • Lifting / adverse effects*
  • Logistic Models
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Low Back Pain / etiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Posture
  • Risk Factors
  • Schools
  • Weight-Bearing