Alexandria Total Care Chiropractic
Back-to-School Health Tips for the Family
It’s that time of year again. Kids across the country are putting away the pool toys and swapping them out for school supplies. Even with the integration of tablets and other technology into our schools, it seems that children’s backpacks are as heavy as ever—which can lead to some unhealthy habits. Alexandria Total Care Chiropractic wants our community and our students to stay healthy through the back-to-school transition and throughout the year. Here are several helpful tips for keeping your children strong and safe this school year.
Encourage proper use of shoulder straps.
Somewhere over time, children decided that wearing a bookbag the way it was designed to be worn—with two over-the-shoulder straps—was infinitely uncool. We couldn’t disagree more! Wearing backpacks properly can prevent a host of issues that come from wearing weight on one side of the body only. In fact, even better than two straps are the newest version of back-friendly bookbags that feature padded shoulder straps as well as a strap around the waist. Similar to hiking bags and child carriers, these backpacks are ergonomically designed and intended to protect the back and neck from strain. Reinforce proper use of the straps on your child’s existing bag or invest in a new, back-friendly bag.
Monitor the weight of textbooks.
Parents have every right to keep an eye on the weight of the books that children are carrying around every day. Putting a full backpack on the scale can be eye opening. Many of our kids are lugging around more than 20lbs of books all day long! This kind of excess weight can lead to chronic pain in your child’s back or neck. While we don’t recommend that adults carry heavy items on their backs either, this is particularly important to monitor in young people. During their school years, children are still forming the curves in their backs and their growth plates are still growing, meaning it is essential to protect their spines as much as possible. Look for backpacks with wheels or the straps mentioned above, and reach out to your child’s teachers if you feel they are carrying around an excessive amount of weight on a regular basis.
Enforce good technology posture while they’re young.
The number of patients that we see at Alexandria Total Care Chiropractic who complain about back and neck pain as a result of sitting and working at a computer is huge. We’re also seeing a sharp rise in the number of patients who complain about “text next,” or necks that are strained due to looking down at their cell phones for hours a day. This is learned behavior, and we have introduced a lot of very unhealthy postures into our daily lives as a result of technology. Children are very adaptable, and as parents, we can take advantage of their ability to quickly learn and embrace new habits. Encourage children to limit the time they spent sitting at a desk in front of a computer or looking down at their phone. Using a mouse and raising screens to eye level can reduce neck strain, and the small pop-up stands and rings for cell phones can be simple ways to encourage children to hold phones up higher. And, as always, encourage plenty of movement throughout the day and make sure your children take regular breaks from their screens.
Don’t text and drive.
This applies to everyone—but our teens are extremely at risk. In fact, the Department of Motor Vehicles reports that texting and driving is the leading cause of death in teens. Create rules in your family and enforce them. It could save your child’s life.
Schedule regular appointments with your care team.
Developing great relationships with your family’s doctors, dentists, and chiropractors is an important way of staying diligent when it comes to your health and ongoing wellness. We are always accepting new patients, and we can ensure you have the tools and resources you need to prioritize your family’s health.
Call Alexandria Total Care Chiropractic at 859-448-0858 to learn more about how we can help you ensure your children and your family are healthy all year long.