Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
We all want our kids to have a healthy body as they grow up, and while you can help guide them along the way, eventually they are going to have to make decisions for themselves, and hopefully they gravitate towards the healthier choices instead of the options that can put their body at risk. In order to guide our children down the right path, we need to teach them about some of the threats to their health and what good choices look like. In today’s blog, we want to share some tips for instilling some habits in your children that will help them have a strong and healthy spine as they get older.
Improving Your Child’s Spine Health
Back pain is commonly viewed as a problem that affects older individuals, and while this is true, we can reduce our risk of developing spine problems later in life if we practice some smart habits in our youth. Here’s a look at some habits you’ll want to talk to your kids about to help increase their likelihood of forming healthy habits for their spine.
- Staying Active – Kids are active by nature, and you should encourage this activity at all stages of development. Moving and being active will help to improve circulation, develop muscles and help them burn off calories and energy, which is great for their development. Get out and be active with your kids, and their spine will be better off because of it.
- TV Time/Video Games – Similarly, you’ll want to talk to your kids about the importance of avoiding excessive screen time. Not only are you inactive during a movie marathon or gaming session, but oftentimes your posture isn’t very good while you’re sitting or lying down, and that static stress on your spine isn’t good. You don’t need to ban television or video games, but talk about how everything is fine in moderation.
- Food Choices – Speaking of moderation, you want to work to instill healthy eating habits in your child as they grow. Poor eating habits can lead to weight gain, and the more you weigh, the more pressure your spine has to disperse, and over time that can lead to more rapid spinal disc degeneration. Make sure your child gets plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and if they are reaching the age where they will be making their own food choices, talk about moderation and the importance of a well-rounded diet.
- Phone Use – We touched on screen time a bit in the above section about television time, but cell phone use deserves its own category. If your teen has a new smartphone, they may want to have their nose buried in it for hours a day, but craning your neck forward to look down at your phone in your lap for an extended period will put a lot of stress on your cervical spine. We’re seeing more cases of “text neck” at a younger age, and prolonged cell phone use is a driving force behind this phenomenon. Reign in your child’s cell phone use and talk to them about having good neck posture when they are on their device.
- Backpack Basics – Finally, your kid will likely be wearing a backpack pretty frequently on their way to and from school, so it’s imperative that you set them up with a backpack that fits their body and ensure they don’t overload the backpack to the point that it affect their gait or their spine health. A well-fitted backpack will rest in the middle of your child’s back, it won’t sag down to their buttocks. Also, be sure to get them a backpack that loops over both shoulders. Single strap backpacks will put uneven pressure on their shoulders and back, which can lead to pain and other problems.
If you keep these tips in mind and talk to your child about making some good choices each day, we’re confident that your child’s spine health will have a great foundation. For more information, or to talk to a spine specialist about any back issues your child may be experiencing, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today at (651) 430-3800.