A disturbing pattern of symptoms have begun to crop up among children complaining of back pain and sore necks. Their hunched posture and the need of a constant reminder to sit up straight have teachers and parents worried about the long term implications to their health. As young children, their bodies are still developing. This means that the spine is constantly adapting to the posture. A poor spine can lead to back pains that progressively worsen over time. Some indications of a poor spine are persistent back aches, rounded upper backs and an increasingly arched lower back.
It is important to recognise why these problems occur in young children and tackle it at its source. A heavy backpack is a significant factor affecting spinal health. Children oftentimes carry backpacks as heavy as 20%-40% of their bodyweight. Kids also tend to swing heavy backpack over their shoulders causing one side of the body to carry more weight than the other. This imbalance in weight distribution can also affect the natural alignment of the spine. Lack of core power and abdominal strength among children with a more sedentary lifestyle can contribute to poor spinal health.
Children now spend a majority of time texting or playing video games. These activities have them looking down, slouched on the bed or hunched over on a chair. The excessive use of gadgets without comprehending its effects on the spine is inconspicuously causing long term damage.
There are different ways to counter these problems and maintain a good spine for your kids. These simple methods counter the pressures of normal life and create long term habits for better spinal health.
- Awareness: Most children do not take conscious steps toward better spinal posture because they aren’t aware of the problems it causes. These topics aren’t discussed in school or at home. Parents and teachers need to have conversations about these problems, their consequences and establish routine habits that lead to a healthy spine.
- Regular Exercises: Children should develop a habit of exercising regularly. Increased core strength and abdominal muscle can help children sit up straight instead of slouching. Regular exercises are also beneficial for the overall health of the child.
- Faulty Mattresses: Mattresses that are too firm or too soft does not provide optimal support to the body causing spinal problems and sleep deprivation. A good mattress choice can help support your child’s body allowing the spine to rest at night. The way to make smart purchases is to look at mattress reviews by customers who have used the product.
- Zero Gravity Sleeping Position: Scientists have found the sleeping position best suited for astronauts is one where the body distributes its weight equally and thereby reducing pressure on the back. This position is when the person lies on their back with their feet and head slightly raised up. The use of an adjustable bed frame is an easy way to bring this endorsed practice to your child.
- Physiotherapy: Children with weak spines can benefit immensely from physiotherapy. With stretches and exercises to strengthen the spine, assistance from a specialist can work wonders in reversing any injuries or damage that has already occurred.
It is up to the adults to recognise a problem before it gets worse. Simple changes like consciously sitting up straight or altering the sleeping position can resolve the problem. You can also reset the alignment of their chairs to ensure they are sitting up straight while studying. Specialist assistance is only required when there is damage that needs to be undone.