Back Health for KidsSunday, September 04, 2016
Ontario Chiropractic Association, a heavy backpack, carried on one shoulder, forces the muscles and spine to compensate for the uneven weight. As a result, this adds stress on the mid and lower back, and could increase the likelihood of back problems as they get older. This is why we need to adopt the adage, "Pack it light. Wear it right." Here is what you need to remember when choosing and packing a backpack for your child:
- Look for a backpack made of a lightweight material, such as vinyl or canvas, and has a variety of compartments to evenly distribute the weight of the contents.
- Choose a backpack with wide, adjustable straps that are padded.
- Pack only the essentials. Your kids’ pack should weigh no more than 10 to 15 per cent of their body weight.
Backpacks aren't the only factor that can affect your children's health. Failing to properly warm up for sports or poor posture could be causes of back pain as well. So how do we relieve and prevent back pain and injury? According to the Ontario Chiropractic Association, one step towards managing back pain is identifying its source. Below you will find possible causes for your child’s back pain along with tips from the Ontario Chiropractic Association to help children stay pain and injury-free at home, in school and at play.
Tip #1: Remind your child to hold their mobile device closer to eye level, whether it be a tablet, a phone or a gamepad with screen. My daughter loves to watch videos to learn new DIY projects while my son enjoys playing racing games, but this could potentially lead to unnecessary neck strain, headaches and even shoulder pain. It is also good to remind them to take frequent breaks and maintain good posture.
Tip #2: Did we mention posture? Sitting incorrectly can cause strain and put pressure on the lower back, decreasing blood flow to the muscles and accelerating fatigue. Teach your child to practice "active sitting" by keeping feet flat on the ground with the back straight, shoulders squared and ears in-line with the shoulders.
Tip #3: Don't forget the warm up. Ensure your child warms up for about five to ten minutes before a game or activity. Even a light jog can warm up the body's temperature and prepare the muscles for physical activity. Stretching also plays a role in improving flexibility and allowing the joints to move through a full range of motion thereby reducing the risk of injury.
Tip #4: Stay hydrated and eat well. Staying hydrated is key for the body to maintain soft tissue elasticity and fluid in the joints that are essential for keeping them mobile, while eating a balanced meal with the right nutrients can give kids the fuel they need.
Tip #5: Get your child moving. Regular exercise helps to strengthen the core and back muscles, making the spine more stable and less prone to injury.
While these tips are a great starting point, they are no substitute for seeking the advice of an expert. Chiropractors know all about your child's spine, muscles and nervous system, the causes of back pain and what you can do about it. If your child complains of back pain, numbness or weakness in his or her limbs, get help.
It's giveaway time! One reader will win a special prize pack valued at $100 that includes a Nike backpack and pencil case along with a folding laptop/tablet stand. Please complete the Rafflecopter form below. Open to residents of Ontario only.
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Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by the Ontario Chiropractic Association.