For many years it has been said that heavy backpacks is one of the causes for scoliosis developing in children. However, there is limited scientific evidence for this.
A study by Siambanes from 2004 (Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, March/April 2004; vol 24: pp 211-271) looked at 3,500 students aged 11 to 15 in the US. The study determined that 64% reported having back pain occasionally. Two of every five children felt pain while wearing their backpacks. Most students with pain said the pain was recurrent. Students carrying heavier backpacks were more likely to report back pain.
However, the study does not link back pain with the development of scoliosis!
Other similar studies have been made, including one for girls in Egypt in 2015, however, none of them seem to link the backpacks to scoliosis.
But it is well know that adults with scoliosis often had back pain as adolescents.
As can be seen in other blog posts on this site, the causes of scoliosis are slowly being unraveled. It has been well documented that people carrying certain genes are more likely to develop scoliosis (see here). It is also suspected that lack of certain vitamins (primarily D and K) may play a role though this has not been well documented (link).
So even though it is uncertain whether heavy backpacks directly can cause scoliosis, it does seem plausible that a heavy backpack in itself – or when worn unevenly – could have an influence on the development of scoliosis.
With my wife having scoliosis and with two young pre-teen daughters both attending school we did not dare to take the risk.
We couldn’t find a schoolbag with wheels that our daughers liked and also we did not like them having to drag the trolley through ice and mud during the autumn and winter time. So we looked for a more flexible option. First we purchased a schoolbag that they really liked without wheels and then we bought this one:
This is a “Go Easy” set of extra wheels for an ordinary schoolbag. The wheels have worked well for our kids and they have used them when the weather was good.
I have been unable to find a similar set of extra wheels on Amazon that can be applied to your existing school bag. However, there are many options available where you get both the schoolbag and a set of detachable trolley wheels. Here is one good example:
There are dozens of other schoolbags where the trolley is integrated in the bag and not detachable. However, these are not good for areas with rain, mud, snow, etc.