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Teenage girl lying on the floor in the living room doing her homework using a laptop computer, low angle, close up, highlighting child habits hurting their spine.

How Your Child’s Habits Could be Hurting Their Spine

As parents, we want to protect children from harm to their young bodies. Yet, it can be challenging to keep track of all they do and how it indirectly impacts their health. Unfortunately, many children’s daily habits have negative impacts on their spine. 

If your child is complaining about back pain, their posture needs improvement, or you’re interested in proactive health tips, keep reading to learn how your child’s habits could be hurting their spine.

SCREEN TIME

With many schools using virtual learning, kids are finding themselves using technology as a daily part of life more than ever. Here are Alliance’s tips to help establish healthy screen time habits with the proper posture.

  • When children are looking at phones, tell them to hold it up in front of their faces. They need to avoid hunching over to look at the screen.
  • Similarly with iPads, instead of slouching on the couch, ask them to sit up straight and use the device at a table. 
  • If your child spends a lot of time sitting at a desk to use a computer, make sure the monitor is set up correctly so that the screen is at eye level and your child’s feet can rest firmly on the floor or a stool.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 

When your child is physically active, their body is properly developing the muscles that keep their spine, abdomen, lower back, and hips in shape. Staying active can prevent injuries and pain from developing in the future for children.

Make sure your child has at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. It can be going outside to play or participating in a team sport. 

BACKPACK SAFETY  

If your child uses a backpack on a regular basis, you need to be aware of how it’s adjusted. It’s easy to overlook, which later can lead to aches and pains in your child’s shoulders, neck, and spine. 

Here are a few rules to keep in mind when adjusting your child’s backpack:

  • Ensure it sits evenly in the middle of their back. 
  • Children’s backpacks shouldn’t have more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight, meaning they should easily be able to put it on and take it off themselves.
  • No one-strap bags. In the same vein, don’t allow your child to wear a backpack on just one shoulder. 
  • Read more about how backpacks affect children’s spine health.

PAY ATTENTION TO SHOES 

Shoes with strong support are best for everyone, but especially for kids. They spend lots of time on their feet.  Try to select sneakers with support that are lightweight, flexible, and also breathable. Shoes without these characteristics can lead to issues with your child’s feet, hips, and even lower back. 

If you have any additional questions about issues with back pain or posture or how your child’s habits could be hurting their spine, contact Alliance and Spine Health to speak with our specialists or call 770-929-9033. 

A child and mother packing her backpack, thinking about how backpacks affect your children’s spine health.

How Backpacks Affect Your Children’s Spine Health

If your children are heading back to school this season, then chances are they have a backpack to use throughout the year. While these bags are essential for most students, the way your children use them could be harmful for their physical health.

Keep reading below to learn from the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain about how backpacks affect your children’s spine health.

What Backpacks Can Do your Children’s Spines

If your kids are shouldering a lot of weight from their backpacks, here are the potential effects it can have on their backs and spines:

  • Lower back pain
  • Muscle strain
  • Irritation on the spine joints and rib cage
  • Distortion of the curves in the middle and lower spine
  • Poor posture
  • Loss of balance
  • Increase in falls
  • Muscle spasms

Overall, improper use of backpacks today can lead to long-term negative effects in the future. To prevent that from happening to your children, use these guidelines for backpacks.

Things to Consider When Using a Backpack

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child’s backpack weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s weight, but encourage keeping it closer to 10 percent.
  • Encourage your children to wear both straps at all times.
  • Adjust the straps on their backpacks so that it sits high on their backs. Also, make sure the straps are comfortable on their shoulders.
  • Their book bag should not extend past their waist. It should be an inch or more above their hips.
  • Their backpacks should not sway side to side when they walk.
  • Ask your kids to use the chest strap or waist strap if their packs have one.
  • If your children have to carry a lot in their bags, get them to to lighten the load by carrying their items in their arms.
  • The best kind of bags are rolling backpacks. These options don’t have the negative side-effects listed above.

If you have any more questions about how backpacks affect your children’s spine health, contact Alliance and Spine Health to speak with our specialists.

Children holding hands and running down aisle of a school, getting back to school prep help.

Back to School Prep Help from the Experts at Alliance Spine and Pain

Getting kids ready to start the school year involves more than buying school supplies and shopping for new clothes. There are many things you can do to help ensure your kids are prepared for a healthy and productive school year. 

The following three tips are a great start for back to school prep help.

Get vaccinated

You, your partner, and your children should all get vaccinated as early as possible in the school year.  Talk to your children’s health care provider and your doctor to find out which ones are recommended. Consider getting the flu vaccine, too. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older.

Teach good hygiene habits

Kids don’t always listen when parents tell them to wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom, or when they come inside from playing. But it’s a message worth repeating — hand washing is by far the best way to prevent germs from spreading and to keep kids from getting sick and from bringing germs home. 

You should also instruct them not to share food or drinks with other kids, as this is another easy way germs are transferred.

Set bedtimes

It’s essential for kids (and adults!) to get a healthy amount of sleep each night to stay focused throughout the day. Although sleep requirements vary somewhat among individuals, most adults need about eight hours of sleep each night, and children and adolescents typically need more than eight hours. 

To get your kids ready to wake up earlier for school, consider making their bedtimes a little earlier each night for a week or two before school starts. Sticking to a routine is important too, so try to not let weekends become late-night free-for-alls.

Following these easy tips along with other common sense approaches will help your children enjoy a safe and healthy school year. If you have any questions about pain management for your children and this school year or other back to school prep help, click here to schedule an appointment with the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain