During the school season, students will have increased time sitting at a desk. Is posture while sitting considered an important factor? Of course it is! Without proper posture, lower back pain, plus neck and shoulder tension, are more a matter of when than if. These are the key points:
A. To make sure a person is sitting upright, it is important to be mindful that the spine is resting against the back of the chair. If the chair has a head-rest, keeping the head touching it will ensure the head and neck is in line with the spine.
B. While seated, the knees and elbows should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Both feet should be able to rest flat on the floor. If the chair height does not allow for this, a small foot-rest should be used.
C. If sitting in front of a computer, make sure the chair is brought close enough to the desk so that the student does not have to reach forward to operate the mouse and keyboard, and the eyes are not straining to read the text on the screen. Position the screen right in front of the chair so that the head does not have to turn to read the computer screen.
Between classes, homework, studying and extra-curricular activities, it’s easy to see how sleep can be negatively affected. Children and teenagers need substantially more sleep than adults, so it’s important to commit to the same bedtime every night (as much as possible) for proper sleep hygiene. If your child is having issues falling asleep at night, try to eat earlier in the evening, and avoid rich, heavy, and sugary foods within two hours of bed. It’s also important to limit screen time at least one hour before bed. Sleep helps the body remain healthy by enabling it to repair and heal from the stresses of the day, and allows for much clearer focus when completing complicated tasks.
Believe it or not, backpacks can be the source of sore joints and muscles if worn incorrectly. When too much weight is worn on a child’s back, the body will compensate by leaning forward, thrusting the head in front of the body to counter-balance the weight. In addition, the weight pulling down and back on the shoulders tends to result in the shoulders being held up and forward. These compensatory patterns can lead to long-term neck, shoulder, and back pain.
To avoid neck and back pain from improperly wearing a backpack, these tips should be followed:
A. The child should try to avoid carrying anything more than approximately 10% of the wearer’s body weight. One can easily accomplish this by only taking what is needed for that day. Extra gear, books, and binders should be left at home.
B. Regardless of the weight of the backpack, the wearer should always use both shoulder straps -- wearing only one strap can add to an already imbalanced posture by causing the person to lean to one side.
C. The straps of the backpack should be wide and padded, with a waist belt to help keep the weight of the pack closer to the body. This can allow for optimal circulation in the arms and will help distribute the weight of the bag more evenly.
For teachers who have an extremely busy schedule, the tips above should also be used, as it will help keep them in better shape to deal with the stress of managing the demands of 20, 30, or even 40 kids in their classrooms. With all the standing, bending, stooping, sitting, and sometimes running – it’s easy to see why many experience pain in their feet, legs, knees, shoulders, and back. Regular chiropractic care can not only help reduce the symptoms in all of these areas, but with proper alignment, which is essential for a healthy body, they will be best prepared to deal with anything the school year can throw at them.
Remember to have fun and make the most of the school year!