If you’re a parent, you know how frustrating it can be when your child has bad posture. At dinner, when you ask your son how his day was, he slumps down in his chair and mumbles, “Fine.” When you drop your daughter off for school, she slouches toward the door beneath a heavy backpack full of books. When you pick her up from soccer practice, she waits for you by the curb with her arms crossed and her shoulders slouched as she texts on her phone. And no matter how often you remind them, they just roll their eyes and keep slouching.
As a parent, this can be pretty discouraging. After all, you want your kids to stand tall — confident and ready to take on the world! But beyond that, bad posture can also put your child at risk for major health problems in the future. Read on to learn why posture is so important and how biomechanically focused approaches can help improve your child’s posture.
Why Addressing Bad Posture Should Be a Priority for Parents
Good posture has long been considered an aesthetic concern, as good posture is generally considered to be more attractive. A child who stands tall projects confidence and openness, while a child who is slouched over shuts the world out with her shoulders, closing herself off from interactions with anything but the phone in her hand. However, aside from the social implications of bad posture, there are also direct physical impacts an a child’s body, some of which have long-term consequences. Bad posture is associated with the following physical health conditions:
- Neck and back pain. The strain that slouching puts on the spine can lead to neck and back pain. This can be exacerbated by other contributors, such as carrying a heavy backpack and spending all day sitting at a desk in school. As an adult, you know how hard it can be to deal with chronic neck and back pain, so you want your child to avoid having to cope with this chronic problem before they even graduate high school. Plus, chronic pain can interfere with your child’s ability to enjoy sports and outdoor activity, which can stop them from developing the healthy exercise habits that are essential for wellness in later life.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. If you think that the physical effects of bad posture are limited to the neck and back, think again. When a child’s shoulders are slumped, it affects the position of their wrists — putting the arm in an unnatural position that compresses the median nerve, which leads to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Because of this compression, slouching can also exacerbate the symptoms of an existing condition. As screen time for kids and teenagers rises, the rate of carpal tunnel syndrome among children is increasing as well, so it is essential to do everything possible to minimize the risks — including improving posture.
- Abnormal bone growth. In the most serious cases, slouching can lead to abnormal bone growth. Bad posture leads to the misalignment of muscles and bones, and if your child goes through a growth spurt while the balance is off, it can lead to long-term issues. This is particularly concerning for parents because, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are growing faster than their peers tend to stoop down so that they blend in.
Biomechanically-Focused, Kid-Friendly Solutions for Bad Posture
Now that you’ve been reminded of the sobering social and physical risks of bad posture, it’s time to talk about the solutions! There are a variety of low-cost, low-effort, kid-friendly, biomechanically-focused solutions that work much better than constantly nagging your son or daughter to stand up straight. Consider the following options:
- Pediatric chiropractic care. A chiropractic adjustment can put your child’s muscles and bones in alignment, making it possible to correct imbalances during the growing process. If your child gets adjusted regularly, you can rest easy knowing that their body is in balance, even while they are still working on breaking the habit of bad posture, which can take time.
- Therapeutic massage. Therapeutic massage is a modality that focuses on soft tissue manipulation and addressing chronic pain and other problems associated with the muscular or nervous system. It may be especially helpful for children and teens dealing with low back pain, neck pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome caused by bad posture.
- Custom orthotics. In some cases, bad posture can be caused by the way a child stands. For instance, if one of your child’s legs is just slightly longer than the other, they may end up compensating by changing their posture and throwing off the whole balance of their muscles and bones. Getting fit for custom orthotics can resolve the problem — all they have to do is stick the orthotic in their shoe, and they are good to go!
If you’re looking for a biomechanically-focused way to help your child beat bad posture, Atlanta Chiropractic and Massage is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our services!