Sunday, September 30

Social anxiety depression - Social anxiety disorder causes

Home > Mental health definition > Causes of social anxiety disorder and depression.
Social anxiety is a persistent and intense fear of being judged in social situations and the disorder causes depression and a sense of embarrassment. In this type of anxiety disorder, the affected individuals have the constant fear and anxiety of being observed, scrutinized, evaluated and judged. This disorder causes feelings of inferiority, self-blame, nonperformance, incompetence, ineffectiveness, ineptness and unfitness and leads to mental depression.

This disorder and related depression has become a common behavioral problem. Millions of people all over the world are going through this agonising psychological trauma of this disorder and related depression every day. Epidemiological studies have shown that 7-8% of the population of the United States suffer from some form of social anxiety. It is the third largest psychological disorder in the country.

The causes of the disorder and depression may be generalized or specific to certain situations. In the generalized form all life situations can give rise to anxiety. The affected people may experience psychological stress at one or many of the following situations.
  • Requiring to make a speech
  • On being introduced to people
  • On being criticized
  • Discomfort with co-travellers
  • Eating or drinking in front of others
  • Becoming a center of attraction
  • Doing something when somebody is looking on
  • The thought that somebody is observing
  • Meeting people considered very important
  • Requiring to lead a group
The anxiety depression causes manifestation of many physical symptoms like, stuttering, trembling, nausea, urge to use toilet, racing heart, sweating, stammering or rapid speech, blushing and muscle twitches. Behavioral symptoms caused by depression are cognitive distortions, excessive social avoidance, avoidance behaviors, compulsive lying behavior, avoidance of eye contact, fight-or-flight response and cringing.
Though the affected persons know that their behavior is irrational and abnormal, they are unable to overcome the thoughts and feelings of anxiety and connected depression.

Possible causes of social anxiety disorder
  • Causes of social anxiety are wide-ranging and the onset is typically between 10 to 13 years.
  • The most common cause is emotional or physical abuse by peers or parents in the young age.
  • There may be a genetic cause, as a child has greater chances for developing anxiety disorder if one of the immediate family member is affected.
  • The genetic association as one of the causes is further strengthened by studies of twins adopted into different families. If one of them developed social anxiety disorder, the other child has 30-50% chances for developing the condition.
  • If a family member is affected, a child may acquiring anxiety depression through the processes of observational learning.
  • Insecure attachment with their mother as infants can cause children developing the condition in their adolescence.
  • 'Behavioural inhibition' in infants can cause them to have inhibited or fearful nature as they grow up.
  • Negative social experiences of self and observed or heard negative experiences of others may have a negative impact and lead to anxiety depression.
  • Excessive use of other's opinions and also shame as a disciplinary strategy by the parents can affect a child.
  • Living in thinly populated places reduces social contacts and this can cause behavioral problems.
  • Some studies have related these conditions are caused by hyperactivity in some areas of the brain and also imbalances in some neurochemicals.
Treatment for social anxiety depression
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is found to be very effective in treating social anxiety and related depression. Getting over anxiety problems is very difficult, but not impossible. Many people have overcome it. A psychologist who investigates and understands the individual situations of his patients can help them to get over it. Along with cognitive behavior therapy, antidepressants may be prescribed to overcome depression.

Untreated social anxiety can cause related psychological disorders like, major depressive disorder (MDD), Personality disorders, alcohol dependence, bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating and substance abuse.

Interesting topics in Daily Health News & Tips:
Research reference:
1. Franklin R. Schneier, M.D., Anissa Abi-Dargham, M.D., Diana Martinez, M.D., Mark Slifstein, Ph.D., Dah-Ren Hwang, Ph.D., Michael R. Liebowitz, M.D., and Marc Laruelle, M.D. (2009). "Dopamine Transporters, D2 Receptors, and Dopamine Release in Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder". Depression and Anxiety. 2009; 26(5): 411–418.

Current topic in Daily Health News and Tips:
Causes of social anxiety disorder - Social anxiety depression

Friday, September 28

Horseradish roots - Horseradish juice - Health benefits

Home > Celery nutrients - Celery juice health benefits > Horseradish root juice health benefits
Horseradish roots and their juice have high nutritional value and immense health benefits. The horseradish plant belongs to Brassicaceae family, and species Armoracia rusticana. Horseradish is a perennial plant. It grows up to five feet (1.5 meters) and has long, white, tapered roots. Its edible medicinal roots and their juice are traditionally known for many health benefits. It is one among the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts) known to contain glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are precursors to antimicrobial and antitumor compounds like allyl isothiocyanate and indoles.

Intact horseradish roots do not have any aroma. When the roots are cut or grated, a glucosinolate (sinigrin) present in the juices from the damaged cells is degraded by the enzyme myrosinase into a mustard oil (allyl isothiocyanate). Allyl isothiocyanate has a typical pungent odor. On exposure to air and heat, the cut roots loose their pungency and become dark with unpleasant bitter taste. They are mixed with vinegar to keep their quality and health benefits.

Health benefits of horseradish
  • Traditionally horseradish roots and their juice are being used as medicine for treating a number of health conditions and ailments.
  • In herbal medicine, horseradish juice is used for treating sinusitis, bronchitis and urinary tract infections.
  • Its juice is used as rubefacient and rubbed on skin to stimulate blood circulation below the skin for relieving pains.
  • Another health benefit is that its juice is a diuretic.
  • Culinary benefits include use in sauce, salad and soup preparations.
  • Horseradish is rich in vitamin C and also contains selenium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
  • It also has dietary fibers, particularly soluble fibers.
  • Glucosinolates, sinigrin and gluconasturtiin (phenethylglucosinolate), present in root juice impart many medicinal health benefits to horseradish.
  • The extracted glucosinolates in fully developed roots contain 83%  sinigrin and 11% gluconasturtiin.

Antimicrobial health benefits of horseradish
Research studies have substantiated the use in herbal medicine for antimicrobial health benefits. Goos KH, Albrecht U and Schneider B. in their research studies compared treatment benefits of the herbal drug containing horseradish root juice with standard antibiotics. They found that herbal drug containing horseradish displayed a clear advantageous safety profile and benefits when compared with standard antibiotics in treating acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis and acute urinary tract infection.

Further it is found that horseradish root juice inhibits the development of antibiotic resistance by bacterial biofilms and multidrug-resistant bacteria. Jakobsen TH et al (Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.) found in their research studies that iberin, an isothiocyanate produced by horseradish exhibited the highest activity in blocking the bacterial communication, also known as quorum sensing (QS), which is essential for development of drug resistance in bacteria.

Antitumor effects and health benefits
Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) present in horseradish roots and its juice has antitumor properties. Zhang Y. (Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA) in his research studies "Allyl isothiocyanate as a cancer chemopreventive phytochemical" concluded that "Bioavailability of Allyl isothiocyanate is extremely high, as nearly 90% of orally administered AITC is absorbed.  Overall, Allyl isothiocyanate exhibits many desirable attributes of a cancer chemopreventive agent, and further studies are warranted in order to elucidate its mechanism of action and to assess its protective activity in humans." Hence there is a great possibility of horseradish roots juice having a greater role as a cancer preventive agent.

Horseradish should not be consumed in excess as it can irritate the gastrointestinal tract. People with peptic ulcers and children below four years should avoid horseradish juice.

The enzyme horseradish peroxidase, present in the root juice has extensive research benefits in molecular biology and biochemical research fields.

Daily Health News & Tips topics of interest:
  1. Severe hypothyroidism - side effects of hypothyroidism.
  2. Chronic sinusitis treatment - balloon sinuplasty.
  3. Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) - Health benefits of cloves.
  4. Prevent back pain in children from heavy backpacks.
  5. Amla juice - Health benefits.
  6. Barley grass - Barley grass juice health benefits.
Research references:
1. Jakobsen TH, Bragason SK, Phipps RK, Christensen LD, van Gennip M, Alhede M, Skindersoe M, Larsen TO, Høiby N, Bjarnsholt T, Givskov M. Food as a source for quorum sensing inhibitors: iberin from horseradish revealed as a quorum sensing inhibitor of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Apr;78(7):2410-21. Epub 2012 Jan 27. PMID: 22286987
2. Zhang Y. Allyl isothiocyanate as a cancer chemopreventive phytochemical. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Jan;54(1):127-35.
3. Goos KH, Albrecht U, Schneider B. (Repha GmbH, Biologische Arzneimittel, Langenhagen.)Efficacy and safety profile of a herbal drug containing nasturtium herb and horseradish root in acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis and acute urinary tract infection in comparison with other treatments in the daily practice/results of a prospective cohort study. Arzneimittelforschung. 2006;56(3):249-57. PMID: 16618018

Current Daily Health News and Tips topic:
Horseradish roots juice health benefits.

Source of horseradish roots image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kren_Verkauf.jpg (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Wednesday, September 26

Side effects of hypothyroidism - Severe hypothyroidism

Home > MRI scans uses, benefits and risks > Severe hypothyroidism and side effects.
Severe hypothyroidism can give rise to serious side effects like life threatening myxedema coma. When properly diagnosed severe hypothyroidism can be completely treated and the symptoms and the side effects can be totally alleviated. The basic cause of hypothyroidism is low levels of thyroxine hormone. Hormone replacement therapy with synthetic or natural hormone sources can completely control the condition. However the treatment may have to be continued life long.

Early symptoms
The common early symptoms are listed below:
  • Cold intolerance
  • Heavier menstrual periods
  • Severe constipation
  • Depression
  • Dry hair
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Sleepiness
  • Weight gain
  • Body-ache
  • Depression
  • Brittle finger nails

Hypothyroidism as a side effect of certain health conditions and medications.
Following health conditions and medications have been found to cause the deficiency in the hormone production:
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Congenital hypothyroidism
  • Environmental stress
  • Excess estrogen
  • Auto-immunity
  • Destruction of the pituitary gland
  • Homeostatic stress
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Radiation treatments
  • Cancer and cancer treatments
  • Treatment of hyperthyroidism
  • Surgical removal the gland
  • Cold
  • Respiratory infection
  • Viral infections of the glands
  • Lithium-based mood stabilizers
  • Amiodarone
  • Interferon alpha
  • Interleukin-2
  • Thalidomide.

Symptoms of severe hypothyroidism are:
  • Hoarse voice
  • Puffiness of face, hands and feet
  • Slow speech
  • Thick skin
  • Thinning outer eyebrows.

Severe hypothyroidism and myxedema
In this situation of severe hypothyroidism, symptoms like low body temperature, decreased rate of breathing, low blood pressure and low blood glucose are seen.
Myxedema coma is the serious side effect of very low levels of the hormone. This is a medical emergency requiring hospitalization and intensive care treatment.

Side effects of hypothyroidism medication.
Thyroxine, triiodothyronine or desiccated gland extract are prescribed for treatment and control the hormone deficiency. One of the side effects is over-treatment resulting in hyperthyroidism. Side effects like palpitations, tremor, restlessness and severe profuse sweating are encountered when the dosage of the medication is high.




Current Daily Health News and Tips topic:
Severe hypothyroidism and its side effects.

Tuesday, September 25

Chronic Sinusitis Treatments - Balloon Sinuplasty

Home > MRI uses, benefits and health risks > Balloon sinuplasty treatment for chronic sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis refers to persisting inflammation of the sinuses and its treatment with recently developed balloon sinuplasty appears promising. Endoscopic balloon sinuplasty procedure is similar to angioplasty and is less invasive than conventional surgical treatments for chronic sinusitis aka chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).

Balloon sinuplasty procedure for sinusitis treatment helps in improving the normal drainage of the sinus cavities. drainage passages are widened and enlarged  with a small, flexible endoscopic balloon catheter. Unlike the conventional surgical treatment for chronic sinusitis, balloon sinuplasty procedure does not involve bone and tissue removal and has a shorter recovery period.

What is chronic sinusitis?
  • There are small paranasal cavities in the skull on the facial region and they are lined by mucus membrane and are filled with air. 
  • Mucus is discharged from these cavities into the nasal passage through ostia (opening). 
  • Sinusitis is the chronic inflammation of these cavities. 
  • The primary cause of chronic sinusitis is nasal inflammation blocking the mucus drainage, leading to infection, inflammation and pain in these cavities. 
  • If the sinusitis persists for more than twelve weeks, it is considered chronic.
  • Untreated acute sinusitis can become chronic.

Triggers and predisposing factors for chronic sinusitis.

The predisposing factors and triggers of sinusitis are:
  • allergies to environmental pollutants,
  • common cold,
  • Cystic fibrosis,
  • asthma,
  • inflammatory disorders,
  • seasonal temperature changes,
  • viral, bacterial and fungal infections, 
  • defective structure of nasal passage like deviated septum,
  • nasal polyps blocking the mucus drainage and
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Conventional treatments for chronic sinusitis

Sinusitis is a much prevalent illness, affecting individuals of all age groups. Treatment with anti-inflammatory medicine, painkillers and antibiotics are considered for sinusitis.

Nasal sprays and drops: Saline nasal sprays, corticosteroid nasal sprays or corticosteroid nasal drops are recommended by physicians to clear the blocks of ostia and also to reduce inflammation in the early stages of chronic sinusitis.
Though nasal sprays containing Zinc compounds have been used successfully for sinusitis, FDA has advised against their use. The zinc nasal compounds can damage the sense of smell by permanently damaging the smell nerve endings.

Steam inhalation treatment: Breathing steam has been found useful in treatment of sinusitis controlling inflammation and opening up the blocked ostia.

Antimicrobial treatment: The physician may consider treatment with antibacterial (amoxicillin, doxycycline or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) or antifungal preparations (amphotericin B) if an infection is the cause of chronic sinusitis.

Nasal irrigation: Flushing out the nasal passage with sterile saline water with the help of bulb syringes or neti pots help in relieving the pressure, blockage and pain.

Surgical options

For patients with chronic sinusitis if the response to conventional treatment is not satisfactory, there are two surgical options available.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS): FESS is the conventional surgical treatment involving removal of bone and/or tissues to make wide passage for the cavity to drain. This surgical procedure requires hospitalization, rest and a long recovery period.

Balloon sinus dilation (BSD) or balloon sinuplasty: This procedure introduced in 2005 is the latest non invasive method for the treatment of chronic sinusitis. The advantage of BSD lies in minimal anesthetic use, short procedure time and fast return to normal activities.

Equipment for balloon sinuplasty: A flexible endoscope (Rhinoscope or Nasoscope), guide catheter, balloon catheter and irrigation catheter are used while performing this procedure.

Balloon sinuplasty procedure

Ct scan and endoscopic visualization is done prior to sinuplasty.
With endoscopic visualization a guide catheter is introduced into sinus opening.
Once access to the ostium of the cavity under treatment is located, a balloon catheter is positioned into the blocked ostium.
Balloon sinuplasty catheter is inflated for short duration with predetermined pressure.
The sinuplasty balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed after treatment.
If irrigation system incorporated into the balloon sinuplasty catheter, irrigation is activated to flush out the mucus and pus, if any.
If the balloon sinuplasty catheter is not equipped with irrigation system, a separate irrigation catheter has to be inserted to flush out the cavity of its accumulated mucus.

When sinusitis becomes chronic, it is very difficult to avoid recurrences. Taking preventive measures and also early treatment with balloon sinuplasty will go a long way in alleviating the severity of chronic sinusitis.


Interesting topics in Daily Health News & Tips:
  1. Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) - Health benefits of cloves.
  2. Prevent back pain in children from heavy backpacks.
  3. Health benefits of celery juice.
  4. Barley grass juice health benefits.
  5. Aspirin treatment for colorectal cancer.
Current Daily Health News and Tips topic:
Treatment of chronic sinusitis with balloon sinuplasty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flexibles_Endoskop.jpg

Saturday, September 15

Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) - Health benefits of cloves

Home > Spices for diabetes > Health benefits of cloves
Cloves and their essential aromatic oil have immense health benefits and therapeutic values. The binomial name of clove tree is Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merrill & Perry and its synonyms are Eugenia aromatica (L.) Baill and Eugenia caryophyllata. Syzygium aromaticum tree is a native of Maluku islands in Indonesia belonging to order Myrtales and family Myrtaceae. They are now primarily cultivated in Southeastern Asia (Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and East Africa (Zanzibar, Tanzania and Madagascar).

Cloves are actually dried flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum and are used in cuisines all over the world. These unopened flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum with many health benefits, have long calyx bearing four sepals and a small ball of unopened petals. They are harvested when they are about one cm. long  and are ripe red in color. Syzygium aromaticum trees are probagated by seeds having very short viability and are to be planted soon after the ripening of the fruit.

Indonesia is the leading grower of Syzygium aromaticum cloves and much of the produce is used domestically. Much of the Syzygium aromaticum clove production in Indonesia is used in "kreteks", very popular aroma cigarettes. Bulk of Indian use of cloves is in their cuisine and in their traditional systems of health care and medicines. As they are dried buds, they can be stored and used through out the year.
Active components and nutrients in Syzygium aromaticum cloves
The active components having health benefits are in its clove oil, which is nearly 15% of weight of the dried flower buds. Eugenol is an aromatic compound present in the oil giving cloves their very strong aroma and spicy taste. Eugenol constitutes nearly 80% of the oil. Eugenol acetate (10%) beta-caryophyllene (5%) and triterpene oleanolic acid are the other chemical components present in clove oil. The oil of Syzygium aromaticum is highly potent irritant and should be diluted with other vegetable oils before therapetic use.
The cloves of Syzygium aromaticum also have health benefits of containing minerals like potassium, manganese, iron and selenium. Presence of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B 1 (thiamin), riboflavin and vitamin C add to its immense health benefits.

Health benefits of cloves in traditional medicine
In traditional medicine of India and China, Syzygium aromaticum cloves occupy an important place, providing health benefits by anagesic, antiinflammatory and dental anesthetic activities. Its other traditional benefits are ant and mosquito repelling properties. Traditional benefits of dried flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum are as follows:
  • general analgesic,
  • antiinflammatory agent,
  • anti-microbial health benefits,
  • mouth freshener,
  • toothache and headache reliever,
  • rubefacient for arthritis and rheumatism,
  • reliever of flatulence,
  • reliever of diarrhea, stomach and bowel ailments,
  • carminative health benefits,
  • antiemetic,
  • aphrodisiac and
  • natural anthelmintic.

Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral health benefits of Syzygium aromaticum cloves.
  • Bacteria: Eugenol, the main constituent of Syzygium aromaticum oil, exhibits broad spectrum antibacterial activities against Gram-positive, Gram-negative and acid-fast bacteria.
  • Virus: Tellimagrandin II, an ellagitannin, found in Syzygium aromaticum flower buds is found to show anti-herpesvirus properties.
  • Eugeniin, a new ellagitannin isolated from cloves, is found to have anti-herpesvirus properties.
  • Fungus: Eugénia Pinto et al in their study "Antifungal activity of the clove essential oil from Syzygium aromaticum on Candida, Aspergillus and dermatophyte species" have found that clove essential oil, obtained from Syzygium aromaticum showed remarkable anti-fungal and inhibitory activity against all tested strains of Candida, Aspergillus, clinical dermatophytes, fluconazole-resistant strains and American Type Culture Collection strains.
Uses of cloves of Syzygium aromaticum in dentistry
Considering the benefits of Syzygium aromaticum, in many dental products cloves are being included. The use of cloves in relieving toothache is a well known home remedy. When a bud of clove is pressed on the site of pain, there is relief due to its numbing local-anesthetic effect. Further its antimicrobial and antinflammatory activity reduces the infection and related inflammation in the tooth. Chewing a clove gives the health benefits of bad breath control and reduction of microbial load in the mouth.

Antioxidant and anti-diabetic health benefits of Syzygium aromaticum flower buds
Nangle MR, Gibson TM, Cotter MA and Cameron NE in their study "Effects of eugenol on nerve and vascular dysfunction in streptozotocin-diabetic rats." (Planta Med. 2006 May;72(6):494-500.) found that 'aspects of both vascular and neural complications in experimental diabetes are improved by eugenol, which could have potential therapeutic implications for diabetic neuropathy and vasculopathy'.



Interesting topics in Daily Health News & Tips:
  1. Prevent back pain in children from heavy backpacks.
  2. Health benefits of celery juice.
  3. Barley grass juice health benefits.
  4. Aspirin health benefits for colorectal cancer.
  5. MRI uses, benefits and health risks.
Current Daily Health News & Tips topic:
Health benefits of cloves (Syzygium aromaticum or Eugenia aromatica).

Image by Brian Arthur (GNU Free Documentation License)
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ClovesDried.jpg

References:
1. Eugénia Pinto, Luís Vale-Silva, Carlos Cavaleiro and Lígia Salgueiro. Antifungal activity of the clove essential oil from Syzygium aromaticum on Candida, Aspergillus and dermatophyte species. Journal of Medical Microbiology. J Med Microbiol November 2009 vol. 58 no. 11 1454-1462.  
2. Debjit bhowmik, K.P.Sampath Kumar*, Akhilesh Yadav, Shweta Srivastava, Shravan Paswan,
Amit sankar Dutta. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. Vol. 1 No. 1 2012. Recent Trends in Indian Traditional Herbs Syzygium Aromaticum (cloves) and its Health Benefits.

Tuesday, September 11

Back pain from heavy backpacks - Prevent back pain in children

Home > Knee pain remedies > Prevent back pain in children - Back pain from heavy backpacks.
Back pain is becoming a common health problem in children and carrying heavy backpacks increases the risk many fold. To prevent the risk of chronic back pain, children must be taught not to get backpacks heavy and also shown the correct way of carrying them. Any persistent back pain complained by children, even without lifting anything heavy, should be evaluated by medical professional, as it could be due to some serious health issue with muscles or vertebrae in the back or internal organs.

Health risks in carrying heavy backpacks

Initially the back pain due to strain of back muscles could be of short duration, which can be resolved with rest and reduced activity. Apart from straining the muscles of the back, neck and shoulder, carrying heavy backpacks prevents proper development of still-forming bones and muscles in children. Carrying heavy weight can put unnatural heavy stress on the young vertebral column and rib cage. Prevent distortion of the natural curve of the middle and lower back as otherwise it can lead to chronic pain and scoliosis.
There are conflicting views by the medical community to prevent the possibility of development of back pain in children due to carrying heavy backpacks. Our common sense should prevail and we have to prevent the risk and pain involved in their carrying disproportionate amounts of heavy weight.

What experts say about heavy backpacks.

American Chiropractic Association (ACA), an association of health care professionals concerned to diagnosis treat and prevent of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system, has offered certain tips and advice on the use of heavy backpacks by children at http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=65.

Skaggs DL el al, (of Children's Orthopaedic Center, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA), in a population-based study of a sample of 1540 school-goers aged 11-14 years, have arrived at certain findings. They found that back pain is associated with use of a heavy backpack and that it is more prevalent in younger children and in girls. Their carrying heavy weights seemed to be directly proportional to the likelihood of back pain.

Paloma Rodríguez-Oviedo et al in their short research report (2011) concluded that carrying heavy backpacks increases the risk of back pain and possibly the risk of back pathology. The prevalence of school children carrying heavy backpacks is extremely high. Educational activities should be implemented in this age group to prevent them from carrying heavy weights.

Tips to prevent back pain in children from heavy backpacks.

  • Backpack must not be heavy and the overall weight of the backpacks must not exceed the 10% of the body weight of the children.
  • Heavy backpacks make the children to bend forward to support the weight on their back instead of shoulders.
  • Weight must be evenly distributed on both the shoulders by proper strapping.
  • Multiple dividers help in keeping the books in place prevent abrupt shifts disturbing the balance.
  • Placing heavy books closer to the back distributes the weight to shoulders.
  • A padded back is more comfortable and prevents poking by notebook edges, pens, pencils and rulers.
  • The straps must be adjustable, padded, wide and placed apart to prevent pinching or squeezing of the shoulder or neck region.
  • Tight and narrow straps dig into shoulders and neck, pinch nerves and prevent proper blood circulation.
  • Both the shoulder straps should be used to prevent disproportionate shift of heavy weight to one side.
  • Carrying the bag by hand or using one shoulder strap can lead to posture problems and scoliosis.
  • Children must be encouraged to wear waist belt, as it helps in even distribution of weight.
  • The correct size of the bag is of importance to prevent stuffing and making it heavy.
  • Low hanging backpack makes the user to lean forward shifting the weight to back.
  • It should be strapped so that it does not hang more than 3-4 inches below the waistline.
Although roller packs are comfortable, they become a bother while lugging them on stairs and also can become a tripping hazard to other students. Introduction of e-textbooks and educational software may reduce the burden and prevent back pain in children by not requiring to carry heavy backpacks.


'Daily Health News And Tips' topics of interest:
1. Celery nutrients and health benefits.
2. Amla fruit juice nutrients and health benefits.
3. Aspirin prevents cancer.
4. MRI scans - uses, benefits and risks.

'Daily Health News and Tips' current topic:
Prevent back pain in children due to heavy backpacks.

References:
1. American Chiropractic Association (ACA) topic on how to prevent carrying heavy weight by schoolgoers. (http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=65).
2. Skaggs DL, Early SD, D'Ambra P, Tolo VT, Kay RM. Back pain and backpacks in school children. J Pediatr Orthop. 2006 May-Jun;26(3):358-63. PMID:16670549.
3. Paloma Rodríguez-Oviedo1, Alberto Ruano-Ravina2,3, Mónica Pérez-Ríos2, Francisco Blanco García4, Dorotea Gómez-Fernández1, Anselmo Fernández-Alonso1, Isabel Carreira-Núñez1, Pilar García-Pacios1, Javier Turiso5. Short research report. School children's backpacks, back pain and back pathologies. Arch Dis Child doi:10.1136/archdischild-2011-301253.