Children and back pain
Children can suffer from back pain as a result of a number of factors in their day to day lives and it’s important to seek professional advice and treatment if such problems do arise.
The most common causes of joint and back pain in children are:
- Regular exercise - Children involved in competitive sports run the risk of getting repetitive strain injuries while kids who are sedentary may have problems related to prolonged sitting. Regular physical activity helps keep the core muscles strong which support the spine and prevents back pain. Encourage lots of walking, playing, swimming, running and cycling to keep your child healthy and fit.
- Sports injuries - children who play a lot of sport may be injured either by direct contact or overuse of certain muscles. Do seek professional advice and treatment if your child is injuries as unresolved problems can result in problems in the future.
- Screen time - extended periods looking down at smart phones, laptops, tablets and tablets can pull the back and neck into unnatural postures and create chronic muscle tension resulting in pain and postural changes. Placing limits on the time spent using devices, keeping children’s legs uncrossed where possible and encouraging regular breaks may help to avoid problems. Aim for 30 - 40 minutes max at a time playing computer games, using screens or doing homework before having a break. Have your child walk around and maybe stretch a bit or do something active before continuing.
- Poorly set up desks - Encourage your child to sit up straight and not slouch at their desk (and in general). If your child needs to use a laptop or tablet at home, consider purchasing a support that elevates the screen and buy a separate bluetooth keyboard and mouse so that your child can sit up straight to look at it (you can get all 3 items for under £40 on Amazon). This Essential Osteopathy Youtube video, relevant for adults and children alike, shows how to set up a workstation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_e-2mrTDOU
- Weight of school bags - children are often required to carry bags full of PE kit, books, musical instruments and other equipment to and from school. Parents should try and keep the weight of these bags down to a minimum and invest in a good quality backpack. Children should wear these across both shoulders, ideally with a strap across the chest to keep the load close to their body. Pack the bag with the heaviest items (laptops and heavy books) closest to the child’s body to prevent back muscle strain.
- Bad posture - can come about because of the factors discussed above. Also, children who grow faster and become taller than their peers may slouch in order not to tower above their friend and this can lead to rounded shoulders and a protracted head (the chin jutting forward so that the ears are no longer in line with the shoulders and the pelvis).
- Shoes - check to see that your child’s shoes are correctly fitted, are supportive, relatively flat and not too worn.
Osteopathic treatment can help relieve your child’s back pain using a combination of gentle manual therapy to resolve any stresses and strains that may be affecting their body. Osteopaths can also provide helpful lifestyle advice that may reduce the likelihood of the problem returning.
Find out more or book an appointment by calling the Osteopath, Fiona, at Essential Osteopathy on 0141 278 6063, emailing her firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the Essential Osteopathy website www.essentialosteopathy.co.uk
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