Kids are indestructible, aren’t they?
The child flies off the swing and lands on her behind, and all the grown-ups watching cringe because they know how much that fall would hurt any one of them. But kids are thought to be more resilient than adults: True to form, this one hesitates on the ground only for a moment, and then runs happily toward the wading pool. But still, the impact of the fall catches up with her later, and she complains of a headache.
People think kids are indestructible, but they are not. Falls such as this one are common and can cause misalignment of the spinal joints or the pelvis known as spinal subluxation or intersegmental joint dysfunction. A child’s body does often heal without help, but if the child’s spine is not checked to make sure it is developing normally, the “layers” of injury could add up to structural problems. It is like a tree growing in a confined space. It continues to grow, crooked, toward the sky. Similarly, the body adapts, but that does not mean it adapts properly.
Is my child’s spine growing correctly?
To ensure their children’s spines are developing normally (and to make sure all those minor falls aren’t adding up to trouble), parents may want to bring their kids to a chiropractor. There, they will receive nonsurgical, non-drug therapy.
The first thing a chiropractor does when they see a child for the first time is take a complete history and conduct a thorough examination. This involves sitting down with the child and parent(s) to talk about things that could affect the spine: Was the child a breech baby? Was the delivery long and difficult? How does the child sleep now?
Next, if the child has a problem, take an x-ray (if clinically necessary) of the child’s back and neck to rule out a bone fracture or a dislocation. They will then explain to the child and parents what the problem is, and how it can be corrected. If this uncovers no serious complications, a chiropractor may adjust the child’s back.
Children respond quickly to chiropractic treatments, and often feel better after the very first appointment.
Your chiropractor will emphasize that good spinal health should begin at home.
What to watch for with your child’s spinal health.
- Posture- posture effects everything from a positive attitude to proper cardiac function.
- Sleeping- The best way for your child to sleep is on their side with one pillow.
- Phone / Tablet use- When your child is using a portable device make sure their head is looking up between 0-20 degrees down.
- Walking- Check how your child is walking, fixing over pronation and toe walking is easiest while they are still young.
Also read: The Power of Postural Thinking
Posture should not be thought of purely in biomechanical terms. It’s also a combination of emotional, physical and spiritual health factors. Children who feel good about themselves and are fulfilled in these areas tend to stand upright and walk straight — both elements of good posture. Conversely, children who have poor posture — with heads forward, chins down, backs rounded — are often inactive, fatigued and tend to have low self-esteem.
Poor posture can have physical consequences. For kids who constantly slouch forward, breathing and digestion may become a problem. Good aeration promotes healthy oxygen uptake by tissues. When the oxygen levels in the body are reduced, the child is going to be fatigued.
Good posture also promotes good pulmonary and cardiac function. You breathe in, more oxygen is available to your blood which goes to your tissues. You feel better, so there’s this positive cycle of feeling good about yourself.
Scoliosis is a side-to-side curvature of the spine that, if left undiagnosed, may result in extensive damage. While some spinal curves affect only a person’s appearance, progressive scoliosis can affect the function of all organs within the rib cage and impact people’s ability to sit, stand and walk.
Look at your child. Do they have an uneven hemline? Is one shoulder higher than the other? Does one shoe wear out faster than the other? If you see any of these signs, it could be a sign of structural problems.
To be safe, it’s best to have a health-care professional screen children between the ages of five and 18, as scoliosis and poor posture does the most damage during a child’s growth years.
Also so read: Backpack Safety
Recommendations for safe backpack use:
Match the size of the backpack to the size of the student; making sure it is not too long or too short.
Select a lightweight style that has two wide, padded shoulders, a waist strap, and a padded back.
Position the backpack to rest evenly in the middle of the back.
Use both shoulder straps.
Bend at the knees and use your legs to lift the backpack, one shoulder strap at a time.
Tighten the straps so that the backpack is close to the body.
Distribute the weight of objects evenly within the backpack, and do not carry a weight greater than 15% of body weight.
Utilize all compartments and pack the heaviest objects close to the back with the center of gravity near the pelvis.
Lighten the load whenever possible.
Sleeping on the stomach is bad for the spine because it means the head has to be rotated to the side, compressing blood and nerve supply and causing misalignment of the vertebrae. Other sleeping tips: Mattresses should be rotated about four times a year, to maintain firmness, and children should not use more than one pillow under their heads when they sleep, as this can cause stress on the neck.
Remind youngsters not to hold their phones — including cell phones — in the crook of their neck, between the shoulder and the ear. This compresses muscles and the nerve and blood supply on the side where the phone is.
When kids sit in front of a computer, it is better for them if it is straight ahead, not to the side, and not too far up or down (the tip of the nose should line up with the middle of the screen). When at a computer, the child or teen should sit up straight and have his or her feet flat on the ground.
If a child does not have a normal arch in the foot, this can lead to overpronation or oversupination (a condition where the feet turn in or out too much while walking). This, in turn, can lead to an improper gait, hip problems, knee pain and lower back pain. Custom orthotics to improve the situation can be ordered through a chiropractor, and exercises can help develop a better arch.
Won’t my child just grow out of these habits?
These are all factors that can easily be ignored until a serious problem happens. The sooner you can stop your child from
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