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Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

First Advisor

Jay Salzman, BS, PT

Second Advisor

Richard Rutt, PhD, PT

Third Advisor

Kory Bell, MS, PT


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


Background and purpose. Few studies have researched the relationship between adolescent back pain and backpack use. Hence, the purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between the point-prevalence of back pain and backpack wearing in adolescence.

Methods. After obtaining parental consent, 169 subjects ages 11-14 were assessed using a questionnaire that gathered information on the point-prevalence of back pain, the area of back pain occurrence, and general descriptive data. The students were then weighed to determine the percentage of their own body they carried in their backpacks on the day of testing.

Results. There was a significant relationship (p= .01) between the point prevalence of back pain and percentage of body weight carried, fit of the backpack, and lock use. Pain in the thoracic spine was significantly (p= .01) more common than pain in the cervical or lumbar spine.

Conclusion and discussion. Some contributors of adolescent back pain are carrying backpacks that weigh over 10% of one's own body weight, wearing a loose fitting backpack, and not utilizing lockers to store books. Recommendations for creating awareness of backpack safety are provided.


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