Ergonomic Articles

Causes of back pain in children and 5 ways to fix it

By Jana Zuidema (Bsc Physio) | Added 2015-07-27

There are a number of factors affecting children’s back health today. With the changing digital landscape, play is changing and kids are suffering more and more with back pain.  There are five main contributing factors for this: Pathology, school backpacks, soft tissue injuries, poor postures and inactive lifestyles. Treating and preventing these insure that these back ailments aren’t carried over to adulthood.

 

Before we give you the five tips, here are the 5 main causes of childhood back pain.

1: Pathology: Injuries and diseases such as herniated disks, scheuermann’s Kyphosis (1), spondylolysis, and scoliosis - as well as the pain associated with them - can be easier managed with the right lifestyle habits that are started at a young age.
 
2: Backpacks: One of the main causes of childhood back pain and injury is school backpacks. When used incorrectly and carried on one shoulder instead of two, they put strain on the spine and can cause a lot of discomfort.

3: Soft tissue damage: These are injuries that come from the sport.

4. Poor Posture: Almost 75% of back pain in children results from muscle strain and poor posture. This non specific back pain, tested by x rays and exams, come from poor posture health and can be prevented with awareness.

5. Inactivity: Known as sedentary lifestyle, activities such as TV watching and computer games are replacing outside active games. These prolonged seated activities can cause back pain and do a lot of damage.

Now that you know the 5 main ways pain pain occurs in children, here are 5 tips to prevent and rectify it:

1: Use Backpacks Correctly 

The easiest and effective corrective measure is to ensure that backpacks are always carried on both shoulders. Holding the bag by the handle or on one shoulder can cause a lot of damage. Alternatively, new school bags that come with wheels, that allows users to pull the bag are the safest.

2: Exercise

Including more exercise and activity has long-lasting relief for back pain. Fun activities such as cycling, swimming and walking are great for relieving muscle spasms and discomfort  they cause. Promoting good core stability is also vitally important and some exercise examples include using a gym ball to sit and bounce on for two minutes at a time - 5 times a day. Or alternatively having your children balancing on the ball and lifting their feet off the ground for two minutes, is a quick and easy way to promote good core health.

3: Treating muscle strain and managing injury

For serious pain, that persists for longer than a week, it is always best to consult a medical professional. But in cases where your child has a sports muscle strain or pain from an activity, treating it correctly can help prevent persist pain. The first thing to do is to avoid any unnecessary sports or activities that may aggravate the situation. Then to ice the injury up to four times a day within the first two days of the injury. Afterwhich, some gentle massage is recommended. Lastly, five days after the injury occurs, treat the area with soft stretches until the pain subsides.

4: Promote activity by limiting sedentary time


By limiting TV time and time in front of the computer, you can limit muscle fatigue. This is because prolonged sitting can cause a lot of strain on the body and back. To elevate this fatigue, try to get your children to stand and stretch or take walking breaks to break the monotonous sitting.

 

A great stretch for this is to encourage your child to stand up tall and stretch their arms to the sky. Another way is to make sure that when they are seated, they are seated in the best possible postures. Comfortable, proper postures will ensure not only better performance, but promote good back health.


5: Correct Desk Postures


Similar to your own workstation setup, setting up your children’s home desk is important for children’s ergonomics, helping to alleviate strain from bad posture and promote good posture. Here are a few ways to do it:


1: The first thing is to ensure the desk and chairs are appropriate for their size and for the task at hand - whether it’s computer work or written homework.
2: Make sure that the chair is at the correct height of the desk so that their forearms rest comfortably on the desk or the chair arms.
3: Make sure that their forearms are parallel to the floor when working and that their elbows are at the same height as their keyboard or book.
4:For correct posture, use a foot rest or find a desk at a suitable height, as this will ensure that their feet are supported properly. Alternatively, look for a chair specifically designed for children, with adjustable heights and built in footrest.
5: When setting up your child’s desktop computer, placing it center, inline with the monitor and the chair, offers the most beneficial posture. To do this, line of the B key on the keyboard with their belly button.

The GetOne Junior Kids chair is designed specifically to deal with all of the above injuries and promote good posture. With the right support you can ensure that not only is their upper and lower backs correctly supported, but their feet rest comfortably enabling correct posture.

References:
1. Evaluation of Back Pain in Children and Adolescents, Bernstein and Cozen, Am Fam Physician 2007 Dec 1; 76(11):1669-1676
2. http://www.orthopediatrics.com
3. http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Back_pain_children

 

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