Back Pain in Our Kids
Does this image look familiar?
A way too big pack pack riding on the back of a tiny person.
It is one thing for children to be studious and want to have all their books on hand, but a lot of kids are so loaded down that they can barely make it off the bus!
An interesting article published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, correlated an overloaded backpack to an increased incidence of pain and mechanical problems. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/769193.
Of 1400 children who carried backbacks, 61% had a weight that was greater than 10% of their body weight. Of those children there was a 50% chance of back pain.
Even though we may think that a few aches and pains are not a big deal…what we should care about is what may happen years down the road.
The Body Compensates!
Over time, the child may start to change the way they walk to compensate because of the weight of the pack. And this posture then becomes worse as they sit in class bent forward. Add in some poor posture adopted when holding their ipad, smart phones and laptops and you have a recipe for back pain!
And not only will our children be walking hunched over and experience pain, but their posture could also impact the way they breathe, move, and live.
Listen in on how important posture is to managing stress in Amy Cuddy’s Talk.
So not only are our kids experiencing pain and poor posture, but their posture could be impacting their level of confidence!
In My Practice:
I have seen:
-8 year olds who, just through ‘gaming’, did not have the capacity to sit up straight without significant pain in the mid back.
-Teenagers who experienced breathing restrictions because they can’t straighten up enough through the mid back to take a deep breath.
-Kids who have experienced constant neck pain and headaches due to posture alone!
How You Can Help:
Teach and remind your kids to stand straight (shoulders back and chest open)
Decrease the amount of weight in their back packs
Stretch the chest muscles through a door way or with the elbow out at 90 degrees on the wall.
Teach them to put their hands in the small of their back to support the low back as extending back looking towards the ceiling.
Hold phones/tablets up when using.
All these little things can be a great starting to getting your kids to stand tall!
Dave Ellis, Osteopathic Manual Practitioner, Oakville