Many parents have taken the opportunity to bring in their kids during the school holiday period for a spinal check up. Here are a few tips I give to parents:
1. Shoes – Have a look at the general condition of your kids shoes. My best advise is, don’t wait until they’re completely worn out before you replace them. A second pair of school shoes in a year might be necessary, and also more economical than foot, knee & spinal problems that can sneak up on the child. A sturdy school shoe or running shoe that is in good condition will go a long way in preventing spine and lower limb joint problems. In addition, some kids need orthotic inserts for foot stability.
2. Back Packs – A good padded backpack worn on both shoulders with the waist strap done up is the way to go. The Chiropractors’ Association of Australia has teamed up with Spartan School Supplies and Macquarie University (NSW) to research, and have developed the ‘Chiropak’. Go to www.bit.ly/CAAChiropak to find out more.
Here are a few statistics on improper use of backpacks (2011 study by CAA published in the Australian Spine journal):
- most kids (90%) have bad posture when carrying their bags which could lead to spinal problems.
- 75% are not using the ergonomic features of their bag to prevent these problems.
- their pack is too heavy, even for an adult to carry, in 79.1% of kids resulting in fatique (in 65.7%) and back pain (in 46.1%)
- they carry their pack for at least 12 years of schooling so it’s no wonder kids have spinal problems, or problems arise as adults, when they carry heavy loads incorrectly for so long.
(References: 1.Negrini, S., & Carabalona, R (2002). Backpacks on! Schoolchildren’s Perceptions of Load, Associations withy Back Pain and Factors Determining the Load. Spine, 27(2), 187-195)
3. Kids Exercise – Get outside, run around and get sweaty!
Dr Patrick Maher – Chiropractor Brisbane CBD