Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
It’s hard to believe that school has already started for some here in Minnesota, and soon schools all over the state will be back in session. Back to school season can be a fun and exciting time, but it can also be hard on your child’s spine. From lugging around a heavy backpack to playing organized sports, the return to school can be hard on your child’s spine if you aren’t careful. In today’s blog, we share some tips for navigating these challenges during back to school season.
Protecting Your Spine This School Year
Back pain can make the whole school year a drag, so take some simple steps to mitigate your risk of developing a back issue. Here’s a look at a few ways to counter some common threats to your spine health in the school year.
- Backpack Basics – A heavy backpack is a common source of pain for many school-aged children, so much so that we wrote a separate blog dedicated solely to providing some tips for making sure your child’s backpack isn’t a threat to their health. You can check out that blog for more comprehensive tips, but make sure the backpack is fitted to their height, that it’s not overloaded with books or other heavy items and that it fits securely over both of their shoulders to aid in weight distribution.
- Return To Sports – Most kids are pretty active during the summer, but the start of the school year can mean the return of certain athletic programs that will test your child’s physical fitness. If they haven’t been training or practicing any sport-specific activity, they could be at risk for injuries once two-a-days or high-intensity practices and tryouts get underway. Make sure that your child is preparing for an upcoming sports season in the weeks leading up to the first day of practice. Many coaches really like to physically push their athletes early in the season to ensure they are ready for the rigors of athletic competition, and that can lead to injuries if you haven’t been preparing for this upcoming stress.
- Seated Posture – The return to the classroom also means that your child will be stuck sitting at a desk for an extended period of time. Not only will they be in one position for a long period, but odds are the chair isn’t the most supportive seat. If you want to prevent all of this sitting from causing problems for your spine, make sure that you are sitting up straight in your chair. Strive to keep your head positioned directly over your shoulders, and work to avoid slouching or hunching down, as this will put additional stress on your lumbar or cervical spine. If possible, get up and stretch when given some free time to take some of this static pressure off your spine.
- Stay Hydrated – Your spine will also benefit if you can keep it hydrated throughout the day. A day at school is far from the most physically demanding activity, but at the same time, staying hydrated will help to keep blood vessels open and ensure that your muscles have access to nutrient-rich blood. Keep a water bottle in your backpack or at your desk and try to drink 2-3 bottles throughout the course of the day.
- Be Active Outside Of School – Finally, if you’re not playing any organized sports this fall, make sure that you are finding ways to stay physically active during the school year. If you’re stuck at a desk for hours a day at school and then you spend your free time watching television or reading books, your spine and supportive muscles can suffer. Staying active helps to strengthen key areas that stabilize and support your spine, helping to ensure it can handle all the stress it has to bear throughout the day. Be active throughout the school year, and your back will thank you for it.
If you develop new back pain or you need help overcoming a chronic spinal issue this school year, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.