As part of our efforts to increase awareness on the importance of healthy spine habits in the community (especially among children), Dr Steve, our lead Doctor of Chiropractic, hosted a group of Temasek Junior College (TJC) students studying the causes of bad posture in children, and if wearing a brace would be the answer to these issues.
School holidays are over and it’s back to school for your child (woohoo!).
However, have you wondered how long your child hunches over their desk in school? And how this impacts their posture and physical development?
Since it’s not possible for you to be watching over your child’s posture all day, is wearing a back brace really the answer to getting your child to maintain a good posture? Here are three key takeaways from the interview with Dr Steve:
Takeaway #1: Get your child to take a ‘stretch break’ in between class periods
While 6 hours in the same position might sound long, that’s easily the amount of time your child spends sitting at his or her desk in school as classes go by. Here at Full Potential Chiropractic, most of the children we treat have what’s known as Forward Head Posture. Daily habits and lifestyles such as sitting in one position and looking down at their mobile phone for extended periods can cause damage to the muscles as well as spinal misalignments in the neck and back.
It is important to counter the damage caused to the muscles through regular exercises and stretches to strengthen muscles in affected areas. One tip would be to take a quick ‘stretch break’ between class periods (about every 30 mins) to stretch tight neck and back muscles.
Takeaway #2: It’s best to address Forward Head Posture as early as possible
While regular stretches and exercises are good habits to keep, the bones in your spine could be physically misaligned. This forces your posture to be off (even with regular stretches). Children with Forward Head Posture due to physical misalignments in their spine typically lose the normal curvature in their neck. This causes a lot of pressure and tension on their spinal cord and nerves which causes pain.
Beyond pain, it is important to realise that the nervous system is connected to organs. An affected flow in the nervous system has a deeper implication on your child’s physical development. For example, Forward Head Posture results in the ribcage being pushed forward which restricts the movement of the diaphragm. Oxygen intake is affected, which over time could lead to an increase of acidity in the blood . This can affect normal development.
This is the focus of chiropractic adjustments. By using physical adjustments to correct physical misalignments in the spine to ensure optimal development of your child.
Takeaway #3: A brace is not the answer in the long term to correct bad posture
The TJC students we spoke with were thinking of developing an electronically modified brace with inclinometers. It would calculate the angle of each vertebrate and constantly monitored their posture. It sends out an alert whenever they are not in proper posture.
While it’s a really creative idea, these things do not address the root cause of the problem. The brace would force you to sit upright. This basically does all the work your muscles are meant to be doing. This might be ideal in certain situations such as back injuries or severe conditions when your muscles need time to recover. Otherwise, wearing a brace in everyday to correct posture will cause your muscles to be very dependent on them. Your muscles will become weaker over time, and is not the long-term solution.