Why COVID Is Leading To More Back Pain Among Children

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: November 9, 2020

Spine Tumors in Children

The COVID-19 virus is affecting the health of millions of Americans who contract the disease, but it’s also having implications for those who don’t contract the virus. Recently, we’ve noticed that there has been an increase in the number of children who are being evaluated for back pain, and it seems that COVID-19 is playing a role in this surge. In today’s blog, we explain why the coronavirus pandemic may be increasing your child’s risk of developing back pain.

COVID-19 And Back Pain In Kids

The coronavirus pandemic has affected our daily lives in many ways, and these changes may directly or indirectly be increasing back pain likelihood in children. Here’s a look at some of the ways COVID-19’s presence could be leading to more back pain among our youth.

  • Disrupted Activity – Children and teens are advised to get anywhere from 60 to 180 minutes of activity each day. This physical activity helps to strengthen key structures and aid in development, but many structured activities have been rescheduled or cancelled because of the coronavirus. Swim lessons, team sports and similar physical activities did not take place in the summer and early fall due to virus precautions. It’s not as easy for kids to stay as active during the pandemic, and this inactivity could be increasing their risk of back pain.
  • Sitting Posture – Although school desks may not be the most comfortable setup in the world, they are often designed with your child’s spine in mind. At a minimum, school chairs force kids to sit somewhat normally and keep their spine in relatively decent posture. If they are doing online learning because of the pandemic, they may be on their laptop in their bed or on the couch, which may not be as supportive for their spine. Make sure your child sits in a supportive chair and has good posture while they’re doing their schoolwork.
  • Text Neck – The shift to online learning and extended time spent on a laptop, phone or tablet can also put extended stress on our cervical spine. If you’re constantly craning forward to look at a device, your neck and upper spine will suffer. Talk to your kids about healthy neck posture when they are using electronics, and try to limit electronics use when they are out of school so that they aren’t putting more strain on their neck.
  • Extended Inactivity – Finally, when kids are in school, they are often changing classrooms and moving throughout the halls every 45-60 minutes. It may not seem like much, but these few minutes of movements are key for keeping muscles loose and shifting how stress is channeled throughout the body. If you child is doing online learning, encourage them to get up and move around, even if it’s just to walk to the bathroom or the kitchen for a drink of water, every time they have a break. Staying in the same spot may not seem physically challenging for your spine, but it can be if you’re not careful, so get up and move when you get the chance.
  • Weight Gain – Finally, with limited physical activity and the ability to snack if they are in the house more, kids could be at risk for putting on weight during the pandemic. Extra pounds means extra stress on your spine, so help ensure your kids have healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Staying hydrated with water, not coffee or soda, can also help their spine perform optimally.

For more information, or to talk to a spine specialist about your child’s back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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