We’re well and truly back into the school year, which means young spines are readjusting to heavy backpacks, increased iPad and computer usage and poor desk posture. Neck pain, headaches, back pain and growing pains are some of the common complaints a child may have. As the bones of the spine do not fully fuse until 25 years old, it is during these formative years of childhood that the foundations for spinal development are established. If the spine is unbalanced, unstable and does not move correctly it increases the probability of degenerative changes that are seen in adults.
According to the Chiropractors Association of Australia (CAA), 90% of school children have bad posture when carrying their bags and could experience unwanted spinal stress and damage as a result. While 75 per cent are not wearing their school backpacks properly and ignoring the ergonomic features in some backpacks which are designed to provide better support and comfort. What’s more, many Aussie kids are exacerbating the problem by wearing their backpacks too low on their backs (33 per cent) or slinging them over one shoulder (20 per cent).
These alarming findings emerged from a CAA ‘under cover’ observational study conducted by chiropractors on high-traffic school commute routes in late 2011. Some of the problems caused by bad posture at an early age include reduced mobility, possible early degeneration of bones and joints, increased vulnerability to injuries and unhealthy pressures on a child’s nervous system. Chiropractic care has been proven to be effective, and can restore correct function and relieve pain symptoms associated with the carrying of heavy backpacks.
The CAA has provided these tips for carrying backpacks: Backpacks should be ideally no heavier than 10 per cent of a student's weight when packed. Put comfort and fit at the top of the priority list, rather than good looks Make sure the backpack is sturdy and appropriately sized - no wider than the student's chest, with broad, padded shoulder straps Use both shoulder straps - never sling the pack over one shoulder Use waist straps attached Don't wear the backpack any lower than the hollow of the lower back Don't overload the backpack - use school lockers and plan homework well in advance Place all heavy items at the base of the pack, close to the spine, for a better distribution of the weight
Here at Vitalchi our Chiropractor can provide personal advice to help young spines better manage their heavy backpack load as well as assess and fit backpacks to suit the child’s current level of development. Prevention is better than a cure. Chiropractic care is shown to be safe and effective in reducing back pain in children. It is also known to increase the general health and performance of children with or without spinal pain. So why not book your children in for a FREE 15 minute Postural Check, to assess how their spine is functioning.
Or, if you’re keen to get your child started with Chiropractic care, refer them in and you’ll receive $20 off your next consultation! We like to make Chiropractic care accessible for the whole family, so ask Megan or our reception staff about our special family rate. I look forward to helping your family towards better spinal health.