It is hard to believe, but summer vacation will soon be coming to an end and our kids will be going back to school.  The Spinal Institute of Health would like to give you some health and safety tips to reduce unwanted strain to your child’s spine this year.

  

1. Backpacks

    • Weight:
      • Make sure you clean them out!  Only carry what you need and try to leave as much as you can in your lockers.  Back packs should not exceed 10% of your child’s weight.
      • Example:  If your child weighs 90 lbs their backpack with materials should not exceed 9 lbs.
    • Size:
      • Keep them small to avoid from overfilling them.
      • Make sure they properly fit the torso of your child.  The back pack should rest on the thoracic spine (mid back) and not extend down to the low back/buttocks region
    • Straps:
      • Use two straps and tighten straps to keep back pack resting on the upper back.
      • Do not sling them over one shoulder

 2. Electronics

    • Common Sense Media’s Research shows that teenagers on average spend 9 hours per day on electronic devices and kids 8-12 spend on average 4.5 hours per day.  If your child is looking down at their phones, tablets, and laptops it is putting chronic strain on the musculature, ligaments and joints of the cervical (neck) and thoracic (upper back) spine.
      • A Study in the Journal of Surgical Technology International indicates looking down at your cell phone is equivalent to putting 4 adult size bowling balls or 6 plastic grocery bags of food on top of your head!
      • This can lead to chronic deformation of soft tissue within the cervical discs and supportive ligamentous structures.
      • Poor posture can lead to up to 30% reduction in total lung volume.
      • Minimize all electronic times to less than 6 hours per day for teenagers and allow only 2 hours of entertainment electronics time/day.
    • The human brain develops by experiences. Excessive screen times decreases other important neurological stimulation and can have negative affects on grades, behavior, and social skills.
    • Important to remember: Electronics can become addictive due to a surge of Dopamine released in the brain making it difficult to curb your times.
    • Measure the amount of time you are spending on devices with screen time monitors often installed on your device or use apps such as Zift, Screen time,UnGlue, etc.
    • Use proper ergonomics and keep device at eye level to prevent from flexing the head forward.
      • Use devices such as Upright Go or others to remind you of when you are in a slouched posture

 3. Sitting

  • The average American sits for 7 hours per day. Studies indicate that sitting 7 hours plus per day can negatively affect your health and increase your risk for metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, as well as certain cancers!
  • A reduction of sitting to 5 hours per day has a positive affect at reducing these risks.
  • If you go to the gym and think that working out will erase this increased risk…Think Again!
    • Of course going to the gym has its health benefits and helps reduce these risks, but when the study compared those that exercise with those that do not and both sit 7 hours per day, they found that the the exercise group wasn’t able to erase the risk!
    • Point in hand, reduce sitting to 5 hours or less per day and continue to go to the gym!

 4. Get Checked:

  • Having your child’s spine and upper neck checked for alignment and nerve dysfunction on a regular basis is just as important as having their eyes and teeth checked regularly.  Your goal should be that no treatment is needed, just as you wouldn’t hope for a cavity or your prescription to get worse.
  • 50% of school children complain of back pain and 20% suffer from headaches and migraines.
  • 100,000 dx per year of adolescent Scoliosis
  • “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” -Benjamin Franklin 1736