Protecting your child’s back with ‘back to school’

More and more parents are bring their children into the Chiropractic clinic, complaining of back discomfort. With increased screen time it’s not surprising this is happening. Today I was chatting to a 15 year old patient who said:

‘It’s not my PlayStation that causes my back pain, because I haven’t been on it much this week and the pains increased again, however I have been studying a lot’.

I had to explain that it is most likely a combined effect of multiple poorer postures from the past weeks, months as well as current. Every posture and activity has the potential to contribute, whether that’s studying, gaming or sofa posture etc. He needs to learn the optimal spinal posture and correct himself when he catches his posture deteriorating. In addition he should take regular breaks and move. Common problematic postures we discussed were:

  • Phone time

  • Gaming time

  • School work on an iPad

  • Slouching on a sofa

  • Poor sleep position

Here are 6 ways you can help your children avoid back discomfort.

1. Vary where you sit in the classroom 

Continuing to crane the head or neck in the same direction can cause discomfort. Aim to change seats for different lessons. Sitting sometimes on the left and others the right. 


2. Chair height 

Check your chair height is suitable for your desk to promote good posture. Click here to learn more about good desk posture. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your elbows in an open position with your wrists and hands straight and supported by the desk 


3. Move Around 

It is just as important to take breaks from sedentary activities as it is to maintain good posture. Encourage your child to move around in their breaks between lessons, rather than moving from one seated position to another. Joining an active club or team that they enjoy during lunch breaks and/or after school. 


4. Writing Posture 

When working at a desk we have the tendency to slump forwards with the upper back and crane the neck. This poor posture overuses muscles and increases the load on the cervical spine.  


5. Walk or Cycle 

If it’s safe to do so encourage your child to walk or cycle to school. The benefits of moving more are widely known and a short walk to school, as opposed to sitting in a car or on a bus, is a healthy way to start the day. 


6. Weight load of bags 

Be aware of how much your child is carrying daily. Encourage them to only carry what is needed for the day, and to make use of their locker to lighten their load between lessons. It’s worth spending money on a good quality rucksack with two straps that will distribute the weight evenly across the back. Read more about bag carrying here.

With so much time being spent on screens from an early age it’s becoming even more important that we install good habits into children. Whether they are studying on iPads, laptops or reading books they need to be aware of preventative measures to reduce the change of pain and discomfort as a result of poor posture.

If you think your child could benefit from additional Chiropractic treatment and tips on improving their posture why not book a Chiropractic consultation for them now.

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