I was recently fitting a chair for a client who blames his university days for the start of his back pain. There a number of risk factors why that might be.
Risk factors for back pain in children and teenagers
- The sheer number of hours spent sitting studying, with the increasing majority of this time spent on the computer
- Working from a laptop. Students seldom have the luxury of a desktop to use and the laptop is so much more adaptable to school and university life. Laptop design encourages a slouch, putting pressure on the spine. Education on making small adjustments to prevent this is key, but is seldom provided.
- Children are now doing their homework on the computer, so the exposure starts from an early age, and the impact of bad posture builds up over many years No training on the importance of good posture at the computer is given at schools and we are simply not aware of the long term damage of the slouch.
- All of the above is further impacted by the extensive use of smartphones from an early age, with instagram, whats app and snap chat proving so popular as early as pre teens
What can you do as a parent to help prevent this?
- Teach your child the importance of sitting upright, in a healthy S shape. It isn’t just a wives tale, it decompresses the spine and over the years will cause damage and pain.
- Teach your child how to use a laptop correctly and if possible buy accessories to support this:
- Raise the laptop so that the top of the screen is closer to eye level height, otherwise it encourages a slouch down to ready the screen. Or dock it to a large screen if possible
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse. This makes typing so much more comfortable and is essential once you raise the laptop, otherwise all sorts of awkward postures are adopted!
- Try and make sure you sit so your arms are in line with the keyboard
- Make sure the small curve of their back is supported. Try our back supports which not only adjust to fit even the smallest back curve, but will also make the seat a little shorter for them so they can sit without their legs crossed or dangling. These are easily transportable so great for university life too. www.corrigo-design.com
- And of course encourage regular exercise and stretching.
For more advice, contact Nichola Adams at Corrigo Design. As a mother of teenagers and expert ergonomist, she is the perfect advisor!