It's one thing to hear that a significant percentage of individuals suffer from back discomfort on the job, costing billions of dollars in medical bills, prescription medicines, and lost productivity each year. We've grown accustomed to back pain caused by incorrect lifting techniques, participation in "weekend warrior" pursuits, and the basic principle of aging. But did you know that kids suffer from back discomfort and that complaints of this condition have been on the rise for nearly a decade?
Repetitive Physical Movements
Children and teenagers who engage in competitive sports are more prone to have upper or lower back pain. Repetitive twisting, stretching, and straining related to competitive sports are among the most prominent causes of back discomfort in children and teenagers. A structural injury frequently causes back pain in teens — something must have happened to the spine. Simple muscular strains, the most common source of back pain in adults, are less likely to occur in kids and adolescents.
Teen athletes are more likely to experience low back pain, which is usually caused by abuse - such as repeated twisting, spinning, or hyperextension (bending backward). This movement is seen in several sports, such as:
- Lifting weights
If your child's back discomfort is caused by a physical injury, such as a sports accident, the best way to treat a minor muscle strain initially (during the first 48 hours) is to ice the spot for 10 minutes 3-4 times each day. For at least seven days, avoid the sporting activity that caused the injury. After 36-48 hours of moderate massage to ease any spasms and stiffness created by the tension, mild stretching of the region can resume about 5-7 days after the accident. If you are doubtful or if the symptoms persist after seven days, get medical attention.
It is not unusual to find a classroom crowded with mismatched furniture. Chair seats are either too low or high for the desk heights with which they have been coupled. This is not to suggest that teachers aren't aware of their students' dimensional variances. However, there is a notable shortage of ergonomic recommendations on which academic institutions can rely. To complicate matters, children are more sedentary and physically inactive than health specialists and government agencies prescribe. Excessive sitting combined with poorly constructed or misfitting furniture is a prescription for catastrophe in the form of musculoskeletal diseases (MSD's.)
Improper Backpack Use
The backpack is an essential element of school life, just like homework.
Children use backpacks to carry whatever they need.
However, the weight of just about everything they need to be crammed into a carelessly worn backpack may cause joint and muscular pain.
Many adolescents carry backpack burdens that exceed 15% of their body weight, and parents are beginning to notice their school-age children moaning of back pain. Backpacks, when worn appropriately, are the ideal means to carry stuff, especially for lengthy periods. When worn correctly, a backpack is sustained by the body's strongest muscles: the back and core muscles, which function together to support the trunk and keep the body in proper postural form. Poor backpack use poses some risks to young, still-growing muscles and joints.
Consider these rules for proper backpack use, as this is highly important since kids and teens utilize it the majority of the time as they attend school:
- Take note of the design of the backpack. Opt for bags with wide straps. Thin straps might obstruct circulation, inducing tingling or numbness in the arms, leading to hand weakness over time.
- Put on both straps. When a backpack is slung over one shoulder, a person leans to one side to adjust for the uneven weight, curving the spine. Even when both straps are correctly secured, slumping forward to accommodate for added weight might disrupt the natural curvature in the lower back.
- Check that the backpack is not excessively heavy. No more than 15% of one's body weight should be carried. Extra weight can also induce a rounding of the shoulders and an increased curve in the upper back.
- Check for a waist belt on a backpack. Tightening the belt assists to distribute the load of the backpack equally.
Poor Posture and Sedentary Lifestyle
Especially in this pandemic and COVID-19, schools adapt to the new challenges such as online education, increased testing, and decreased funds, and students see more chair-and-desk time and less playground and gym class. According to one study, being physically active can improve student health.
Every year, one in every three preteens or teenagers complain of back discomfort. Intermittent back pain is generally mild to moderate in severity and is felt in the low back, mid, and upper back areas when sitting or standing for extended periods. Recurrent back pain in children has been linked to increased health-care utilization, a rise in the number of days missed from school, and the possibility of long-term health implications, such as an increased probability of chronic back pain in adulthood.
Some of the repercussions of young people's increasingly sedentary lifestyle choices are listed below.
- Susceptibility to injury: Physical education and recess have been reduced in 40% of schools. As a result, when muscles aren't prepared to absorb impact, youngsters are more likely to experience an injury.
- Weak supporting muscles: A deficiency of regular exercise eventually weakens muscles that hold the spine, such as the core and iliopsoas muscles and the obliques or side muscles. Weaker supporting muscles can put more tension on the spine's bones and joints, affecting posture.
- Poor eating habits: Being sedentary regularly tends to lead to bad eating habits.
- Excess weight: Sedentary lifestyles frequently result in weight gain that exceeds ideal for a child's height. Weight gain also puts additional strain on the spine, which can impact posture and bone formation.
Things you and your child can do:
- Encourage breaks for mobility throughout the day. Every half-hour to 45 minutes of sitting, stand up and move around for a few minutes. Try a different strengthening, stretching, or posture technique during each activity break.
- Teach your kids to sit upright and tall (activate their belly muscles) to ensure a healthy posture. To help build a good routine, rehearse for five to seven minutes during the day.
- A home/school work station should be used in conjunction with an appropriate study posture. Preferably, your child should sit in a chair that is the correct size and at a table/desk with the correct height for his or her body. You may get your child a height-adjustable standing desk and an ergonomic chair for even better promotion of movements. Ensure that while using one, regularly switch between sitting and standing and observe correct posture on both positions. According to one study, frequent standing can improve student health. Students who stand more reduce their BMI by more than 5 points. Educators associate movement with learning. Even modest movements, such as transitioning from sitting to standing, aid to reinforce knowledge in a variety of ways, including functioning as a segue from one activity to another, alleviating classroom stress, and even assisting students in refocusing.
- Move around and get some exercise. Make it a habit to exercise for 30 or 45 minutes each day. Exercise boosts muscle mass, aids in weight maintenance, alleviate back pains, and raises your child's chances of general wellness and mental well-being.
The majority of back-related symptoms in younger people are caused by muscle strain. Preventative actions can be as easy as motivating children to engage in at least one hour of physical activity per day. Most kids do not require the services of a doctor or physical therapist to improve their posture. Nonetheless, consult with their pediatrician if your child has back pain or their spine cannot be positioned upright and erect.