The spine has several highly important functions. You can even call it the scaffold of our body. Thanks to its stable construction, we can keep our head and pectoral girdle in a straight position. It protects the spinal cord using its unique bone structure. A spine characteristic is its high mobility which allows our whole body and its parts to move in different directions. It absorbs shock during motion. For these reasons the spine is crucial for our ability to move freely. Because of this faulty posture prevention is extremely important.
Children do not have deeper knowledge, which is why the role of adults is so important. They need to be very careful and observant of their children, and in any case of disturbing signals which may indicate posture flaws, they should immediately contact the doctor’s office. Preferably it should be an orthopaedist as it is the only specialization which can assess if a posture flaw has developed. It is possible that posture flaws can be advanced, so the child may be forced to wear an orthopaedic corset, or possibly even require surgery. It is easier to cure flaws spotted earlier, which is why the parent’s role is so crucial. Bear in mind that a sustained faulty posture can lead to serious back conditions.
So to avoid such situations, it is best not to wait for a faulty posture to appear, but to take care of your children’s healthy back and spine. If we can ENCOURAGE HEALTHY HABITS in them, and apply faulty posture prevention, then as teenagers and adults they will be able to properly take care of their own bodies.
All children are exposed to factors which can result in a faulty posture. The best example of this is a heavy school backpack. The backpack weight should not be more than 10-15% of the child’s body weight, even though some pre-school children are carrying an 17 ibs backpack, despite only weighing 66 ibs themselves! Children’s spines are sometimes put under even bigger strain than adults. A good solution is to buy a backpack on wheels. We often do not realise that a heavy backpack may cause axial overload in the hip and knee joints. Another thing that needs our attention is the study place. It is very important to adjust the desk and chair properly. The chair needs to be adjusted to the child’s height, so it is best if the chair has height regulation. The desk should also be regulated, and placed at a level which allows the child to support their arms on the table without hunching.
Unfortunately, children nowadays spend a lot of time in front of the TV or computer screen. Of course, we should not get paranoid and ban our children from watching their favourite shows or playing computer games just to avoid a faulty posture, but these types of activities should be restricted to an ACCEPTABLE MINIMUM. A faulty position while sitting fosters spine overload.
It is crucial to ensure children have a proper night’s rest, during which the spine is not suffering, and able to develop correctly during the day. A school age child should sleep around 9 hours per night, which will assure proper functioning during the day and correct skeletal system development. The child should sleep on a mattress which is not too flexible. The most appropriate are a sprung-foam, or simply spring mattress, neither too soft nor too hard. The pillow should be small and flat, so the back does not need to bend.
Additionally, we need to be aware of the importance of a child’s diet. It should be rich with proteins which help build joint cartilage. A child’s diet should include a lot of dairy (a source of calcium), influencing teeth and bones. Vegetables will supply vitamin C, essential for collagen production. Collagen is crucial for building cartilage and is responsible for the condition of joints and ligaments. Children should eat plenty of cabbage, cucumbers, broccoli, carrots, and fish instead of red meat. The most nutritious fish are sea fish, including herrings, mackerel, and flounder as they are rich in Omega-3 acids which improve our joints condition, flexibility, and elasticity. Greasy and fatty fish supplies vitamin D, supporting calcium absorption.
One of the best, and simplest, faulty posture prevention techniques is sport. Being active has an amazing influence on the back. The most commonly recommended sport is SWIMMING. It helps to unburden leg muscles, and decreases gravity influence. Due to this the work of the spine is not only focused on keeping the body in a vertical position, but on making specific moves. While swimming, all the muscles are given an equal workout.
A simpler way of sustaining the correct body posture is by running, preferably on soft terrain. Additionally, cycling is also recommended, even though a cyclist’s posture does not appear to be straight. The saddle and handlebars need to be adjusted to the right levels so that the back can be straight while riding. It is worth encouraging children to practice some kind of sport. Thanks to physical activity the spine is becoming more flexible, and therefore less fragile or susceptible to deformation.
Children should know how to properly sit, learn, play, and sleep so that their spines will be healthy. We must take good care of our children having the adequate knowledge on faulty posture prevention. We certainly do not want it to turn out that due to our neglect, a child is suffering from a serious back condition.