As autumn approaches, we enjoy all that this new season brings: the heat and humidity are lower and breezes more refreshing; the leaves are turning; the kids are back in school.
However, this is also the season for poor posture - and its production of symptoms in our necks and backs.
As both school and multi-tasking begin, we watch our children trudge off with their backpacks full of necessary and unnecessary items. These new postural stresses create significant weight and strain on their spines - especially their necks.
The body assumes new positions because of this added weight to the back, and they stoop, slouch and bend forward. Compensatory postures are automatically assumed to balance and maintain our new poor postures, so as students move through the hallways with heavy backpacks in tow, their heads protrude forward and the necks extend upward to facilitate forward movement. The rounded back and forward head put the upper part of the neck into a full bent backward position, and the lower part of the neck into a full bent forward position. Our kids begin to complain of headaches, neck pain, and upper body pain; unfortunately, we usually write this off as being caused by stresses of school.
In addition to the stresses the backpack puts on our children's bodies, poor posture while studying adds to the strain.
The usual study posture is sitting in the middle of the bed with legs crossed, the laptop or paperwork on the lap, and the smart phone off to the side, so as not to eliminate constant contact with friends. The television is also placed at the foot of the bed, forcing the neck upwards to watch the occasional snippet of TV.
So the bad postures assumed during the day continue into the evening and night as students complete their homework.
It is these postural stresses that produce pain both temporary and long lasting. We must encourage our kids to stop the pain today and learn effective ways to prevent strains and pains in the future.