Fall is here and this means that millions of children are going back to school. This is an emotional moment for parents who send their kids to school for the first time. For children, it is the excitement of meeting their friends again on daily basis. But chiropractors see another, less exciting side, to going back to school: lots of hours spent in front of laptops and mobile phones and heavy backpacks to carry.
Poor Posture Starts at an Early Age
When we, the adults of today, were kids, study and homework meant reading books and writing in notebooks. Our free time was spent mostly outdoors, in the park, playing ball or other games. Children of today have a very different routine after they go back to school.
Most of the schoolwork is done on laptops or tablets. When they finish homework, they meet their friends and take out their smartphones to play online games together. For chiropractors, this means that children start developing posture problems at alarmingly younger ages.
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Spine Health Is Critical to Your Child’s Development
The spinal cord is one of the most critical parts of our bodies. It helps us stand upright. It also contains the spinal cord, a superhighway for the nerves coming from the brain and spreading to all the parts of our bodies.
While most of us think of severe injuries when they discuss spine damage, chiropractors know that even tiny misalignments between vertebrae can affect a person’s health and wellbeing.
And every morning after a child goes back to school, their spine is subject to undue efforts. The culprit is the backpack containing their school books and notebooks.
School Children’s Backpacks Are Too Heavy
For years, chiropractors and other pediatric healthcare professionals have warned that children carry too much weight on their shoulders every day when they go to school. A backpack should not weigh more than maximum 15% of the child’s own weight. Thus, a first grader who weighs around 51 lb should not carry a backpack that exceeds 7.65 lb.
Yet, how many times have you strained yourself to help your child put they hands through the straps? Imagine what that weight does to a child’s spine, which is still growing!
If you cannot lighten the load, then choose a trolley, which does not put extreme pressure on your children’s back. Also, even if the load is within the recommended margin, consider the following:
• Choose a backpack with padded back support and padded straps
• Make sure that the straps are the right size – the backpack should not sag below the child’s waist
• Do not choose a backpack that is longer or wider than your child’s back measured from the shoulders to the waist.
How a Chiropractor Can Help Your Child
When it’s time to go back to school or start it for the first time, you should consider bringing your child to a chiropractor to evaluate and/or correct their posture and spinal alignment.
Apart from specific treatments, chiropractors can help you by:
1. Teaching Children to Maintain a Correct Posture
Sitting in the desk for hours may cause serious posture problems. When they get bored, children tend to slouch. When they are focused on doing exercises, they bend over the notebook. Both postures are incorrect and can cause damage in the future (chronic back pain among others).
A chiropractor can teach your child how to maintain a correct posture and why it is important to maintain it all the time.
2. Preventing Tech Neck
Tech neck is the name of an unnatural curvature of the neck caused by bending the head to look down at a mobile screen. Over time, it can create significant strain for the neck muscle and tendons, as well as cause misalignments of the upper spine vertebrae.
Through a series of exercises, adjustments and massages, the chiropractor can relieve the negative symptoms of tech neck. More importantly, chiropractors can teach parents and children how to find a correct posture for using laptops and smartphones.
3. Checking for Misalignments in Joints
Children can get injured easily at school during breaks or the PE class. A chiropractor can evaluate your child’s health by examining their joints and solving misalignments and inflammation. It is never too early to solve these problems which only get worse in time.
We wish all children a successful new school years and encourage their parents to look in our online register for a local chiropractor specializing in therapies for children!