Keeping Your Kids Back-Pain Free
School can be rough on your kid’s back. They’re sitting most of the day, and many kids will slouch in their seat or hunch over their desk. Many schools require that they carry several books around all day. Or, maybe your kid has a heavy backpack that they carry on their walk to and from school.
What can you do to help them keep their backs healthy and pain-free? Protecting their backs is important during this critical time in their life. It can prevent further problems when they get older.
But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to support your kids as they head back to school.
Limit The Weight Of Their Backpack
Your child’s backpack is likely the most important factor in their back health. Many kids don’t wear their backpack correctly. Or, they load it up so that it’s super heavy.
Make sure to limit the backpack’s weight to only 5-10% of your child’s total body weight. Any heavier than that, and your child will begin to hunch forward to compensate.
If they are young, check their backpack weekly to remove any unneeded items. That will help keep the weight down.
Choose a backpack with large straps and lots of padding. This will provide extra comfort and will distribute the weight more evenly. If you can, try to get a backpack with a chest or waist strap for more support.
Recheck the straps every few weeks to make sure they have not slipped or changed.
Make Sure They Use Their Backpack Properly
The weight of the backpack isn’t the only thing that’s important. They also need to wear the backpack correctly.
A backpack should never hang lower than 4in (10.16cm) below their waistline. A backpack that hangs lower increases stress on the shoulders. This may cause your child to lean forward. It also shouldn’t be any wider than the width of their torso.
Many kids opt to wear their backpack by a single strap rather than using both. Discourage them from doing this as it can cause strain on the neck, shoulders, and low back.
They also need to practice proper posture when wearing a backpack. When they’re standing, their back should be straight with their shoulders squared. Their chest should be out, their chins up, and their stomach in.
Keep Them Moving
Keeping your kids active and strong will help to offset any pain caused by backpacks or sitting. Having them stay active for 30-60 minutes a day will keep them strong and fit so they won’t experience as much back pain.
Have Them Practice Proper Posture
One of the most important things when considering your child’s spine health is their posture. Kids get bored sitting at a desk all day. As a result, they start to slouch or hunch over their desk. As tempting as this may be, you should remind them to practice proper posture.
Sitting correctly reduces the wear and tear on your joints, ligaments, and muscles. It also reduces strain on your body when you’re moving, and it improves your spine health.
Encourage your kids to sit with their feet flat on the floor. Have them avoid crossing their ankles or their knees. They should also keep their ankles in front of their knees, rather than tucked under their desk.
When possible, they should keep their knees and forearms parallel to the floor. Their arms should sit to their sides with their elbows forming the shape of an “L”.
Encourage them to sit up straight with their shoulders relaxed to reduce strain on the neck. Their back should rest against the back of the chair.
Limit Screen Time
Kids today have more access to technology than ever. Leaning over a computer or smartphone all day can lead to strain on the neck and back. Rather than hunching over, encourage them to bring their phone up to eye height. When they’re at home with their laptop, make sure that their desk is set to the correct height. Their laptop should sit at eye level.
Also, try to limit their screen time. Sitting in front of a screen for too long can cause strain on the body. Ideally, they should get up to move and stretch at least 10 minutes for every hour of sitting.
Protecting your child’s spine while they’re young and growing is important. A healthy spine at a young age sets them up for a healthy spine throughout their lives with less problems.
To protect their spine health, make sure to get them a proper backpack. Make sure they don’t overpack! Ensure they stay active and limit screen time. Also encourage them to practice proper posture both in school and at home.