It’s that time of year again as children head back to school. An exciting time to for sure; a new year level, new teachers, new subjects and a plethora of new experiences to be had. At this time of year, we often get bombarded with questions regarding children’s posture. So below, we’ve compiled together our top tips in get your child’s back tip top!
Before diving into our tips regarding posture, it’s important to define, “What is good posture?”. First and foremost we believe posture is very dynamic and try not to get caught up, nor our patients, into this thought of the ‘perfect’ posture. We are however true believers that a strong active spine can withstand anything we throw at it. The more often we’re avoiding those longer drawn out activities (ie. Studying or playing games) and remain active, the better chance the muscles have to circulate blood flow, improve circulation and improve muscle and spine function.
1. Computer Use
As schools increasing integrate more IT into the school curriculum, there has been a big shift in computer and laptop based education. Also commonly connected in current literature is the association of postural angles with increased computer use. Making small ergonomic adjustments are an easy way of making changes to how we sit in the chair and look at the screen. Importantly, adjusting the monitor such that the upper third of the screen is at eye height allows the neck to sit in an ideal position to use our eyes to scan the screen, as opposed to having to slouch the neck down. When seated, having the lumbar supported in the low of the back is also important in maintaining support through the lumbar spine and allows for further comfort and less chance of the postural muscles having to over work.
2. Mobile Phone Use
Another large concern for parents is the increasing use of mobile phones. As the technology continues to improve in power and function, we’re all increasingly using our phones for more and more of today’s daily task’s, in both adults and adolescents alike. As in our point above, there is an increasing larger population with their heads down minding their business. This slouching neck position is often a big contributing factor in neck-shoulder pain and headache type issues. The hunching postures we adopt as we continue to remain in these postures often lead to increase pressure on other parts of our anatomy including lungs and organs. In these cases, it is often about sharing the load across the other body parts or at least limiting the amount of contributing phone use. We suggest lifting the phone to a more ideal height or resting it on a kick stand.
3. Back packs
Purchasing a new back pack is always an exciting prospect for any student and investing in a sturdy bag that will withstand the rigors of school is always a priority. But although the bag may take a beating, the same shouldn’t be said for your back and spine. Back pack positioning and overall load can play a critical role in spinal posture. We recommend that the backpack should not weight anymore than 10-15% of your child’s weight. Additionally, placing the load lower on the spine, cradling nicely in the low of the back, reduces the affect of forward lean through the trunk and minimises chin poke (forward head) as a result. Keeping the load tightly squeezing on the back is also very important, so any chest or lumbar straps can also be very useful.
And with that we’ll leave the convincing now for you to do!
Good luck for a new school year!
If you have any questions after reading this blog or believe your child needs an assessment, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team at either of our Modbury or Flinders Park clinics to make an appointment.