Back to School (By Jasmine de Wind: Chiropractor at Cleveland Chiropractic)
Back to School is an appropriate time to review a few simple ways to help children care for their spines during the year.
An overweight, poorly packed and fitted backpack can be a common source of musculoskeletal discomfort and fatigue in children. A good backpack should be lightweight, comfortable and appropriately sized. It should be no wider than the chest and no longer than the hollow of the lower back. Choose a backpack with broad, padded and adjustable shoulder straps. Always use both shoulder straps as well as any waist and chest straps to distribute weight evenly.
Stress from an overweight backpack can cause children to either lean forwards or arch the back to compensate, placing undue strain on the spine. Backpacks should weigh no more than 10% of a child’s body weight but many children carry almost double that regularly. To minimise weight, plan to carry only what is necessary for the day and make use of school lockers. Heavier items should be packed closer to the back with lighter items towards the front.
Classroom and study posture should also be considered in minimising postural strain. Sit up straight, back in the chair with your feet planted flat on the floor. Shoulders should be back, chin tucked slightly down and a gentle ‘C’ curve in your lower back. Don’t arch your back or slouch forwards. Bring books and screens such as tablets and laptops closer to eye level to reduce the amount of neck and shoulder strain. Consider using a bookstand and/or laptop stand.
Remember to stay active! Our bodies are designed to move regularly so ensure that you get up from sitting every hour to move for a few minutes and accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every day.
To assist families, our clinics offer a Complimentary Spinal Check to the children of clients. No treatment is given during these checks and no fee is charged. Other conditions do apply, so please ask for more information from a chiropractor or at reception.
Best wishes for a healthy, happy and productive school year in 2018.