While some cases of proper posture enforcement from mom or Sister Mary Clarence may have seemed extreme, there is a horde of health benefits to having a child straighten their back and neck with the shoulders pulled back in line with the rest of the body. As a chiropractor, I’ve seen how spinal issues can impair children’s physical, neurological, and emotional development and cause problems later in their lives.
Let’s discuss the different reasons why good posture is beneficial and why bad posture can be dangerous. And don’t worry, we’ll get to scoliosis, which approximately two to three percent of children have. Serious problems can occur if this condition isn’t addressed early in life. Chiropractic care is an option that can improve your child’s posture as well as help deal with issues such as scoliosis. Chiropractors will assess your child’s posture, spine, and neck, recommending certain treatments to get them back on track toward optimal health.
The Benefits of Good Posture
Whether a child is sitting at their desk at school or in front of a computer playing video games, posture is incredibly important. Sitting with the elbows, hips, and knees at a 90-degree angle, the spine, nearby nerves, and muscles will all function optimally.
As a child grows, it’s imperative to promote proper posture to prevent any issues with spinal formation or joint problems. There can be more immediate problems, such as neck and back pain. A pinched nerve can occur because the spine is rounded in a bad position day after day as they scroll and swipe their way through the interwebs. Even a young child can experience muscle spasms and pain from something as simple as slouching over their desk for several hours each day.
Good posture leads to:
- Reduced low back pain
- Fewer headaches
- Increased energy levels
- Less shoulder tension
- Decreased risk of abnormal joint wear and tear
- Increased lung capacity
- Improved circulation
- Reduced TMJ pain
- Improved core strength
- Better form during workouts
- Taller appearance
- Increased self-confidence
The Downside of Bad Posture
Sitting and standing incorrectly can strain areas of a child’s body, like their muscles, ligaments, joints, and bones. Children can experience a host of other problems in various parts of their body when bad posture is present. The core becomes weak, which can lead to back and shoulder pain. The hips can become very tight and constricted. Poor posture means less space for the heart and lungs to do their thing. Respiratory issues, cardiac problems, and fatigue can all result from poor posture – and we all know no one is more fun to be around than a tired teen.
Keep in mind that the spine is growing at a rate of approximately 0.7 cm per year for kids between the ages of 5 and 10. Structural issues can result if the spine is frequently in the wrong position as this growth takes place.
We’ve all heard about scoliosis. I remember the days lining up in the gym so everyone could get a spinal screening. Something about it felt very vintage. Maybe that was just because my school was built in the 60s, and that was the last time anyone ever thought about what it looked like. However, a lot of people don’t understand what scoliosis really is.
Scoliosis is a spinal deformity resulting in an abnormal lateral curve. Essentially, a child’s spine will look like it’s in the shape of an S or a C. In extreme cases, a child may appear to favor one side because of a slight lean. One shoulder may be higher than the other, and the hips can also be out of alignment.
Most scoliosis cases occur because of an unknown cause, though other cases are linked to poor posture or a diet deficient in key nutrients.
How to Diagnose Scoliosis
The scoliosis checks by the school nurse have gone by way of more advanced imaging techniques like an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. However, we can all still rely on the school nurse to catch any spinal deformity. Especially if that school nurse is my mom, she doesn’t miss anything.
Some cases of scoliosis are so mild that they will go undetected for much of a child’s life. It isn’t until later in life that certain aches, pains, and medical issues can pop up because of this spinal complication.
Mild cases of scoliosis may not need to be treated, but most doctors will recommend some intervention when a child is diagnosed. The goal is to correct the problem or at least prevent it from worsening as time passes.
Chiropractic care’s natural approach to scoliosis care can help better align the spine and relieve muscle tension and pain. Using the hands or a small device called an activator adjusting instrument. Fast and limited-force impulses will be administered to the joints in the spine to promote alignment and motion.
A chiropractor may educate patients on exercises they can do at home to promote a healthier and straighter spine, including things like arm raises, leg raises, pelvic tilts, presses, and planks.
The goal of chiropractic care is to avoid the invasiveness of surgery. Surgery poses several risks, like neurological damage, loss of spinal function, pain, infection, and inflammation. Chiropractic care is a natural solution to manage scoliosis.
Tips for Helping Your Child Maintain Proper Posture
No child wants their parent to nag them about their posture constantly, but we have to keep an eye on how our children position their bodies. It’s especially common for a child to exhibit poor posture when relaxed, working at a table or desk, or preoccupied with technology like their tablet or video games. Gently reminding them to sit in a more appropriate position is part of our job as a parent.
The best way to do this is to give them an example of how they should be sitting or standing. Take a before and after photo to show how their body positioning changes when they’re more aware of what they’re doing. I’m not saying scare them about what their lousy posture could mean for their future…but I’m not not saying it.
No one is better at assessing spinal issues than a chiropractor. We can determine if spinal issues or curvatures of the spine could be caused by bad posture. We’ll help create a plan to get any child back on track, offering chiropractic adjustments, custom exercise programs, and adult encouragement from someone other than a parent.
Posture can be affected by the simple positioning of the body, but other factors may contribute to how a child’s spine grows or rests. For example, these kids carry more and more weight in their backpacks, to the point that even Cheryl Strayed would be concerned. This extra weight can cause a child to overcompensate in a certain position to remain comfortable.
Unfortunately, more and more children are living sedentary lifestyles. They don’t get outside as much, and a lack of physical activity can affect posture, leading to weak back muscles, which make it difficult to maintain a proper seated position. Crossing the legs, slouching, and allowing the head to droop can all cause problems with posture.
Consider the different furniture in the home. A child’s favorite seat most likely lacks the most support. Ergonomic chairs are designed to support the body in ways that promote proper posture and support a child’s joints, spine, and hips. A lot of these chairs are adjustable and can be customized according to a child’s needs.
Adults are also susceptible to bad posture, especially as more people work from home with less-than-ideal home office setups. So don’t think the grown-ups are getting out of here scott-free. Adults set the example for children to follow, even if we think they’re not paying attention to us. They are!
It’s ideal to work with an experienced and reputable chiropractor that can address potential issues with a child’s posture before they experience pain, discomfort, and lifelong issues. Various natural posture correction options are available. So give us a call or schedule a time to meet with one of our amazing doctors. We’ll lay down the law about how the posture has to improve and let you be the good guy for once.