Children spend around 20% of their time at school, much of which is seated which can seriously impact health. Further to this, older students are stuck at a desk doing homework during the evening. These long periods of inactivity are frequently compounded by poor seated posture which can have both short and long-term health consequences.
Prolonged periods of sitting have been associated with poor health such as increased mortality rates and increased risk of certain cancers. For this reason, it is vitally important to create good habits early in life.
Prolonged sitting is frequently accompanied by fatigue and slouching. Poor posture can cause a multitude of symptoms such as:
- Neck pain and tightness
- Pins and needles into the arms and legs
- Back pain
What to look for / signs of poor posture:
- Slouching back in the chair
- Leaning forward close to the page
- Constantly shifting and moving position
- Resting head on free hand
- Fatigue or complaints of tiredness
- Messy handwriting and difficulty paying attention in class
- Complaints of aches and pain
Causes of Poor Posture:Poor posture can be due to several reasons and it’s generally not a deficiency of hearing “sit straight”!
Commonly, core weakness can result in the inability to sit up straight for extended periods of time. Another cause is retained primitive reflexes which can result in fidgeting and restless behaviour.
What can you do?
- Ensure that your child has regular breaks to get up and move. It can be helpful to set an alarm or purchase a cheap clock and draw a timetable onto the clock. For example, study for 25 minutes, followed by a five-minute moving break.
- Encourage regular physical exercise around study periods such as joining a sporting club.
- Ensure that you regularly review your child’s desk set up. As your child grows and develops, the set up may need to be altered to suit their new body shape.
- Take a couple of photos of your child whilst at their desk: from behind them as well as on the side. Bring these into your next Chiropractic assessment or email them through to Cassie prior to your appointment to provide specific advice to you and your family.
Chiropractic and Poor PostureDr Cassie, our Chiropractor, will assess your child’s posture, movement patterns, core and other muscle strength, nervous system maturity (checking for appropriate development such as primitive reflexes) and more depending on the presenting complaint.
Chiropractic for children is specifically tailored to the child and is quite different to an adult treatment. It may include:
- Non-manipulative mobilisations or adjustments depending on their age and development
- Massage and stretches of the tight muscles
- Cranial therapy
- Home exercises to address core strength, muscle imbalances and integration of primitive reflexes
- Desk set up advice