Back Pain In School Children
Children commonly suffer from low back pain, headaches, period pain, growing pains, Scoliosis and sports injuries. If your child suffers from any of these problems get them seen by one Jason our Osteopath, at VitaPhysical.
Common causes of spinal problems in school children are:
Lack of Exercise/ Too Much Exercise
The general finding from various studies is that children involved in competitive sports are more prone to getting low back pain while those that participated in moderate activity were protected. The children involved in competitive sports run the risk of getting repetitive strain injuries and also developing muscle imbalances due to excessive use of certain muscles. Those children who are sedentary are often those who sit and watch a lot of television or play on a computer.
Weight of Schoolbags
School bags are exceptionally heavy for those attending secondary school. Bags carried on one shoulder cause an asymmetry of the body and can cause Scoliosis and other spinal disorders.
From the bag and shoes they choose, to the amount of TV they watch; young people are constantly putting strain on their posture. Lifting, carrying, sitting for too long (particularly slouching) and sporting injuries can all cause a Poor Spinal posture.
Ill fitted desks
School desks and chairs cannot cater for individual heights. The desks and chairs are uniform and unable to be altered to the child’s individual needs. The following describes the correct posture for sitting at a desk…
- The chair seat pan should be tilted down at the front by 10 degrees.
- Legs should be placed 90 degrees to the floor.
- The chair should have a lower back support.
- The desk should be tilted up by 10 degrees.
- The computer should be directly in front of the chair and not to one side, with the centre of the screen 15 degrees down from the horizontal eye level.
- Pick a chair where your elbows, are at the same level as the desk.
This should be implemented at home, not only for the kids, but for everyone in the family. It may not be possible to do this at school but by advising the child to sit upright and not to slouch or cross their legs would help. Regular stretching is also beneficial.
Use of computer games:
School children often spend huge amounts of time watching TV or playing computer games. Spending long periods of time sitting can put twice as much pressure on the spine as standing. Over a quarter of kids lie down to watch TV or play console games – laying on your tummy with your head tilted back puts increased pressure on the joints in the neck and lower back leading to irritation and pain.
Children who play a lot of sport, in particular contact sports such as rugby, may be injured either by direct contact or by overuse of certain muscles. If a child is injured it is important for a professional to evaluate the injury and establish a treatment and rehabilitation plan.
No one is immune to sprains and strains, but here are some tips to help reduce the risk of injury:
- Ask the PE teacher/coach for a daily conditioning and stretching program to build muscle strength and flexibility.
- Warm up before any sports practice or game.
- Nourish muscles by eating a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water.
- Always wear properly fitted shoes.
- Use or wear protective equipment appropriate for that sport.
Children are conscious of fashion but their choice of shoes can dramatically influence their likelihood of developing spinal problems.
Shoe buying tips:
- School shoes and trainers should be fitted professionally to avoid ill-fitted shoes that are detrimental to the feet and body.
- We would advise against high heels as they force the wearer’s body forward so to prevent falling over they have to lean back which causes an increase in back curvature causing low back pain and pain between the shoulder blades.
- Don’t go just by size. Have children’s feet measured.
- When buying shoes ensure your child is wearing the socks they wear to school.
- The shoe should be deep enough so that the toes do not press against the front and long enough to allow free motion and gripping of the toes. There should be about a thumb-nail length between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
Remember prevention is better than cure, get your kids regularly checked by Jason our expert Osteopath at VitaPhysical to improve their posture and reduce the risk of them developing back problems in the future!
To speak to Jason please ring directly on 0191 565 8886 for further information and guidance.
The information provided is for general guidance only and must not be used for diagnosis or treatment of a health problem. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.