One of the most common questions I get asked by parents is “Can you help my child’s posture?” Conversely, one of the most common phrases kids will hear from their parents is “Sit up straight!” Whether you are a parent or a child, we’ve all heard it (or said it) a million times. With all good intentions around posture, what many people aren’t aware that poor posture as a kid can create health challenges later in life.
Rounded shoulders (scapular protrusion), swayback (lumbar hyperlordosis) and a hunched upper back (thoracic hyperkyphosis) are all postural imbalances that place a tremendous amount of stress on the spine. As a practitioner, I am seeing more and more health issues surrounding postural imbalances as the muscles supporting your spine have to consequently work harder to support your body weight. This can lead to back pain, tight hamstrings, headache and shoulder problems. These types of abnormal postures have been linked to everything from depression to decreases in energy and headaches to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Poor posture is usually caused by what kids aren’t doing instead of what they are doing. Let’s face up to it, technology is here to stay and gravity is a constant. If your child is on their phone or playing a game on their tablet, they probably may not be moving and stretching very often, bending over their apparatus and allowing gravity to take it’s toll upon their body. One of the most important things you can do to encourage good posture is to set a timer and have them stretch and change positions every 15 minutes. This will allow their spine, muscles and joints to decompress and reset. By breaking the pattern of poor posture, you can help reduce the likelihood of your child experiencing pain.
Don’t forget: over 50% of children display the clinical signs of abnormal posture. Excessive weight and decreased physical activity are risk factors for postural issues. It is so important to set aside daily times for physical play can help support stronger muscles and improved posture. This helps with both physical health and brain development.
If your child is suffering from back pain, neck pain or headaches, postural issues may likely be part of the cause. Next time you’re in the office, ask us for a quick posture screen for your child. We would be happy to let you know how they can improve their posture and reduce the risk of future aches and pains!