How to help your child survive school: Chromebooks to backpacks to cell phones
It is no secret that there are many approaches to childhood education today. Online learning, homeschooling, hybrid choices, and the basic classroom approach. Wherever your child is along that continuum, each can have an impact on their health!
One of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered lately with patients in my office are children sitting in awkward positions as they stare at a Chromebook, laptop, or computer screen for school. Few homes are set up to accommodate this type of learning. So, what ends up happening is that a child is hunched over a small screen at a kitchen table or sitting on their bed. This leads to poor posture and stress on the spine. Which leads to headaches, neck tension, and/or lower back pain.
Those aches by themselves are bad enough but add to that the fact that nerves that control muscles and the internal organs travel through the spinal and can get compromised with this posture, and now the issues get worse. Migraines, difficulty focusing, digestion and bowel issues then can occur.
Don’t think that this is just an issue of learning from home. Stress and strain from carrying an overloaded, or incorrectly worn backpack can lead to similar issues. Every year as students get ready to go back to school there are numerous warnings about backpack-caused health issues. Consider this your mid-year reminder.
I can hear your question loud and clear: “So what can we do?”
The simplest answer is to be aware. Look at the ergonomic set up for your child’s home learning. Make changes to allow better posture for the student. With backpacks, be mindful of how heavy they get. Also encourage your child to wear their backpack over both shoulders.
This could be an article all by itself. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand the stress that is placed on the back and nerves when looking down at one’s cell phone. Research has determined that the forward head syndrome created from this posture can increase the weight load strain of the neck and upper back muscles 2 to 6 times. Over time this can lead to significant pain and spinal challenges.
Be aware that this is not just an issue for school-aged children! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a toddler watching a movie or playing a game on a cell phone. Consider the lifetime damage that can occur as a result…
The most important consideration for your child is their spinal health!
One of the best things a parent can do is to have their child’s spine evaluated by a chiropractor that works with children. Children are not just mini adults. Working with someone who understands this distinction can make a world of difference in the health of your child! Regular chiropractic care for your child can help minimize the damaging effects of sitting at their computer, carrying backpacks, and staring at their phone.
A great resource for parents is the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (www.ICPA4kids.org). The ICPA is a great place to find more information on chiropractic for children as well as pregnancy and postpartum topics. In addition, you can locate certified chiropractors in your area. This can be very valuable for your family or friends in another part of the country.
I have long held the belief that good health begins before birth. As a certified member of the ICPA, I have worked with thousands of parents and children over the years.
More information can be found on my website www.BeavertonFamilyChiropractic.com. Dr. Dan Miller has been serving the Beaverton area since 1992. He has long held the belief that good health begins before birth.