Caring for children’s spines

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Back and neck pain in school children is increasing. It can be caused by heavy and poorly packed school bags, poor posture, inactivity or the wrong activities and ill-fitting classroom furniture placing strain on children’s spines.

How to care for children’s spines

Children should not carry more than 10 per cent of their body weight. A study by the American Physical Therapy Association shows that more than half of children carry bags weighing over 15 per cent of their body weight.

Here are X tips to help you care for your childs spine

  1. School backpacks need to be worn over both shoulders to avoid over-stressing one side of the body.
  2. When sitting in class, the table and chair should fit appropriately, the feet should sit flat on the floor, with the thighs supported and the chair supporting the back in an upright position. The table should be at elbow height when you are sitting up tall.
  3. While working at a table, imagine a string is attached to the top of the head, lifting it into a tall upright position. Sit up straight, making the most of the support in the chair by bringing it close to the table and sitting back in the seat rather than perching on the edge.
  4. Running, jumping and playing are all good exercise
  5. Homework is the worst part of the day, prop textbooks up so the back isn’t hunched over the work. If using a computer have the monitor with the screen at eye level and move the keyboard to about 10cm from the edge of the desk and place the mouse within easy reach. Keep shoulders relaxed and elbows at 90 degrees.
  6. When watching television and playing computer games, sit up on a chair or with your back supported by something if sitting on the floor. An over-sized couch will force the shoulders to slouch. How about spending some time lying on the belly, looking at the television?

Fidgeting is important.

Hours of sitting in school and then in front screens is contributing to the increasing incidence of back pain in children. Our bodies are designed to move, and the more active our children are the less likely they are to experience low back pain.

The best way to strengthen muscles in the stomach, back and shoulders in order to support the spine is through daily exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to back problems, which can lead to pain.

If you are worried that your child is suffering with back pain and need some advice about how to manage this, call us on 01285 654059 to speak to one of our physiotherapists. We can also give you advice about how to set up a desk appropriately which may be beneficial for your children when doing homework or working on the computer.

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