THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON WHAT WE DO IN THE PRESENT – Mahatma Gandhi
Doc, my child carries a heavy bag. Will it affect his spine?
Doc, my daughter is on the laptop for 3-4 hours every day. Will it affect her spine?
Doc, my son is pursuing gymnastics and daughter ballet. Will it affect their spine?
As a paediatric spine surgeon, I face these and many more questions on a daily basis. The main question that every parent eventually has – What is my child’s spine going to be in the future? What factors will make it worse? What can they do to make sure that their spines are healthy?
Through this article, I will answer a few commonly asked questions in the form of FAQ.
Will a heavy school bag affect your child’s spine? What is the maximum weight a child should carry?
What is a correct posture?
A good posture means that you are always holding yourself in a way that puts the least strain on your spine no matter whether you are standing, sitting or on your mobile. The key ingredients for a good posture are strong, flexible and well-balanced muscles and ligaments, strong core muscles and self-awareness.
If you can draw a straight line from your ear lobe through your shoulder, hip, knee, to the middle of your ankle, then you are in good posture.
To have a good posture when your children are standing, they need to practice.
Stand in front of the mirror.
Sitting in class
Kids need to make sure that both their feet are planted on the ground, and that their backs are straight. Rounding the spine, or slouching, is a common problem and increases the stress on the spine, leading to back pain.
What is the most important thing to prevent backache?
Should your child take vitamin D3?
Vitamin D3 supplementation as prescribed by your paediatrician is vital for the child’s bone health.
Will texting/playing games on a mobile/tablet affect the spine?
Firstly every parent should decide whether they want their child using a mobile, but if the older child is using a mobile then teach them to raise the phone to their eye level and keep their elbows supported on a chair or table. Looking down, can cause a tremendous amount of stress on our neck and trapezius muscle accelerating degeneration.
Can being overweight cause back pain?
Obese adults always complain of back pain. Similarly, even children who are overweight have increased chances of back pain and slipped disc. Being overweight or having a bigger belly can significantly increase the load on your spine and change the alignment of the spine thus causing stress on the spinal joints and muscles. Children should be taught the importance of a healthy diet and exercises at the earliest age possible.
What to do if a child complains of back pain? When to visit a doctor?
A child’s back in the future depends on a number of factors. However, exercising regularly and maintaining a good posture is the key to have a pain free back in the future.
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