At Charminster Chiropractic Clinic we believe that prevention is better than cure. With school children across the country returning to school we thought it a good time to highlight to parents some of the often overlooked actions that could be putting their child’s back and spine at risk and provide advice to prevent any harmful consequences. Hopefully this advice will prevent what are all too often causes of back pain in children.
The first (and arguably most important) thing to be aware of are the dangers that come with your children carrying around heavy school bags.
Did you know that it is understood that children usually carry about 22 percent of their body weight in school bags? For a teenager, that can amount to more than 30 pounds of books, food and other necessities of modern life!
It’s important to be aware that a bag that is too heavy for your child can distort the natural curves of the spine which can lead to muscle strain and irritation in the spine joints and rib cage. An overly loaded bag can also cause a child to lean forward and their shoulders to round.
Advice on school bags
- Carrying a school bag is a necessity for most children. A backpack (or rucksack) is the best option provided it is carried over both shoulders and that the straps are adjusted so that the backpack remains in contact with the back.
- Check the weight of the backpack on a regular basis, daily is preferable. Our chiropractor recommends that your children carry no more than 15% of their body weight in their school bags. If they do carry more, they could be at risk of developing painful, long term back conditions. Ensure that your child is not carrying unnecessary items around with them.
- Items in the backpack should be evenly distributed to ensure that the backpack sits comfortable across the back is not pulling over to one side.
Choosing school shoes can often be a stressful time. Your child wants to be ‘in fashion’ which doesn’t always relate to the shoes being good for them! They also probably don’t realise that wearing the right shoes can make carrying a heavy bag easier either!
Advice on Shoes
- A good school shoes should have a soft sole that provides a good grip on the ground. They should provide excellent support.
- Make sure that shoes with laces are properly laced and tied to provide the necessary support.
Sitting for prolonged periods
You may be aware that as adults we are sitting for longer periods and that all this sitting is not doing our health and backs any good. The same applies to our children. Children are increasingly spending more of their time sitting, be it on their phones, laptops, computers or in front of the TV.
Advice to get them moving
- Limit the time your child spends on their phone, laptop, computer or in front of the TV to a 40 minute period before having them take a break, get up and move around for 10 minutes.
- To help get them moving and improve their posture encourage them to participate in a programme developed by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) called Straighten Up UK. The fun programme is designed to improve posture and help prevent back pain by promoting balance, strength and flexibility in the spine. It’s designed to be incorporated into our daily lives much in the same way as we brush our teeth! You can view the Straighten Up UK video below.
- Ensure your child is taking regular and frequent exercise. Finding activities that all your family can get involved in is a great way to get more reluctant children to participate. The fitter your child is the less likely they are to injure themselves.
Our team of chiropractors at Charminster Chiropractic Clinic are experienced in dealing with children of all ages. If you are concerned about your child’s back or spine then our chiropractors are here to help. You can call to book an appointment with one of them on 01202 296 756.
Straighten Up UK
View the Straighten Up UK Programme and get started on this fun and effective way to keep your family’s backs safe.