Neck & back pain in kids & teenagers
Although less common than in adults, kids aren’t immune to neck and back pain.
Of course, injuries occur from sports & playground accidents or play-fighting, but what about those pains that develop slowly and then hang around for no obvious reason?
Posture & school
Most schools don’t pay that much attention to decent furniture. Picture your boy or girl, head and back slouched over a desk or towards the computer screen most of hours of the working day. Then add the hours at home each week doing the homework… And add Facebook and mobile devices to the mix…
Even when kids sit back in those bucket shaped plastic seats provided by most schools, their heads are often slumped forwards towards their chests, creating needless compression in the lower neck.
How about the kids who walk to school with backpacks almost as large as them, and heavy too? It can be worse for the taller or more self conscious kids, who may subconsciously hunch down as if to try and become less visible.
What's your kid looking at most of the time?
Intoduce the tablet, laptop and mobile phone, and now kids spend more time than ever with their heads looking down, creating additional strain for the muscles of the back of the neck.
And we haven’t mentioned PlayStation yet. If allowed, some kids will spend as many hours as there are in a day gaming. They’ll even discover hours in the day us adults didn’t even know were there!
Combine this in a child who is not very physically active and we can see why vague muscle pain can start to develop as the postural muscles tighten up and weaken. This can happen because the body is spending too long each day in the same position.
For optimum health, our spine and joint need a variety of movement in lots of different directions. Without this movement stiffness and pain can be expected. Injury is also more likely if a very inactive child does something unusually physical.
Treatment with osteopathy
The good news is that this age group usually requires much less treatment than adults to get them back to being pain free. Two or three sessions will be enough in many cases.
Home exercises can often help with recovery and preventing pain, but most kids will usually need a bit of incentive or badgering to get them to do stretches or exercises. If that’s the case, having mum or dad to do them at the same time will often help.