By Sara Castoldi
Back pain isn’t something many of us associate with children but, just like adults, children can become the victims of back pain and issues too. Whether they do suffer from such problems is of course very much determined by their lifestyle and, similarly to adults, there are a number of things that parents and guardians can do in preventing back pain in children and stopping any issues from ever arising. Our blog this week looks at four ways in which your child can tweak their daily habits to help prevent them from suffering with back pain…
We live in a world now where smart phones, tablets and laptops are everywhere and where their use is simply a part of everyday life. Looking down to use such devices for extended periods however can pull the back and neck into an unnatural posture which can result in pain (adults should definitely take note here too!). Limiting the time spent using devices and ensuring regular breaks are taken will help to prevent problems. If your child needs to use a laptop for homework, making sure they sit at a desk or table so that they’re sitting up straight when they use it will help avoid unnecessary strain.
A school bag is of course an essential for any child. Children are however regularly expected to carry bags full of books, sports kits, musical instruments and various other equipment to school and back. This of course can place a huge strain on a child’s body
In order to try and minimise the impact that this weight has upon the body and back, parents should try to limit the weight of school bags as much as possible. Investing in a high-quality rucksack that can be worn across both shoulders, ideally with a strap across the chest to keep the load close to their body, is a good way to do this. Packing the bag with the heaviest items closest to the body will also help to make carrying a bag more comfortable and less likely to cause a strain in the back.
Naturally, the heavier the backpack, the more likely it is to cause back problems. Simply making sure that any items which aren’t required on a given day are removed from a child’s bag is an obvious step to reducing overall weight and strain.
A lack of physical activity is commonly linked to obesity and a range of other health issues but it’s also known to contribute to the risk of developing back problems. Regular exercise helps to keep core muscles which support the spine strong and will help maintain flexibility- both of which will help to avoid weakness in the back. So, simply put, plenty of exercise will keep your child fit, happy and healthy and work wonders in preventing back pain.
The pillow and mattress with which a child sleeps with can be the difference between getting a good night’s sleep and a poor night’s sleep. Ensuring your child has a good sized and comfortable bed with a firm mattress and a pillow that supports their head without lifting it too high to ensure alignment of the spine is key to avoid back issues.
Making sure that your child gets enough sleep is important for both physical and mental development and varies considerably depending on their age. You can find out how much your child needs by clicking here.
If your child is suffering from back pain, it’s important to talk to a qualified professional, such as an osteopath. Our new Osteopath, Sara, specialises in osteopathy for babies and children and if you’d like to speak to her about your child, she’d be delighted to help. You can arrange a consultation with her by calling 0208 088 0614 or click here to book an appointment online.