As school returns, so does back pain for many children, as a result of an increasing reliance on classroom technology and ill-fitting backpacks.
iPads and other tablets are increasingly being used in primary and secondary schools, offering fantastic new education possibilities – but with a hidden cost of back pain and posture problems when students are not educated about how to hold and sit with the devices. Going back to school will literally be a pain unless you show your children the best way to sit when using tablet computers and the correct way to carry schoolbags.
It is also really important to make sure kids are encouraged to keep sitting upright and prop up the screens of the devices they use where possible (this applies to phones as well). Many children tend to hunch over mobile devices, which can result in serious back and neck pain and headaches after extensive use.
This issue is compounded by many students still regularly carrying very heavy textbooks, stationery materials and other items in their backpacks. Poorly-packed, ill-fitting backpacks can exert significant strain on our children's backs – with the potential risk of permanent spinal damage. Any parent waiting to pick their kids up from school can see kids with backpacks slung over one shoulder, weighing the child down on one side and bulging backpacks carrying all manner of items to and from school. You can make a really positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of your children by showing them how to pack their backpacks correctly with the heaviest items at the base and hanging no lower than the lumbar arch.
Choose a sturdy backpack which comfortably fits your child, with broad, padded shoulder straps that are adjusted so the entire backpack sits against the students back. The backpack should be no wider than the student's chest and should ideally be no heavier than 10% of a student's weight when packed.
During February bring your children and their backpack and /or tablet along to any appointment made for a complimentary assessment.