From heavy book bags and rigorous sports schedules to typical growing pains – there are many causes of adolescent back pain. Use these 5 tips to help your kids remain pain-free:
Manage Backpack Weight
The weight of a backpack should be no more than 15% of your child’s overall body weight. Make sure they wear a strap over each shoulder and that both straps are adjusted so that the pack is worn high up on the back.
Monitor Screen Time
Kids are spending more time in front of computers, phones, and tablets than in front of the television these days. Make sure that their screen is adjusted to suit their eye level and, regardless of the device, encourage them to use it at a standing desk or table as often as possible to avoid slumping and slouching over the computer. This can lead to them developing forward head posture and bad habits that lead to increased back pain. Need more proof? A typical 18-24 year old spends more than 8 hours a day in front of a screen. Of those 18-21 years old, 84% have admitted to suffering from back pain in the last 12 months.
Develop Healthy Habits
Your children take their cues from you, even regarding your posture. Take note of your own natural stance. Are you slumped? Are your shoulders rounded? Work on adjusting your posture as a family and encourage everyone to help remind each other that an open rib cage and straighter spine help avoid back pain, develop good breathing habits and great posture.
Teaching your children the importance of great posture lets them have more physical stamina and less back pain later in life. It’s equally important to remind your kids to relax. Standing or sitting up straight with tense muscles doesn’t do them any good.
Early to Bed
It’s no surprise that sleep is essential to a child’s growth, as sleep cycles trigger growth hormones. Kindergartners require upwards of 12 hours of sleep a night and elementary school children need between 9 1/2 and 11 hours. Stunted sleep cycles can mean stunted growth. Make sure your kiddos get the maximum amount of sleep per night so they can realize their full growth potential.
Healthy bones, joints, and tissue are all built from the ground up by the foods we choose to fuel our bodies. In order to get the best fuel, choose whole foods over processed foods whenever possible. Buying local or even organically-grown ingredients will ensure your foods are packed with nutrients. This helps give your kid or teen the best chance of developing a healthy foundation for growth.