It’s back-to-school season. Whether you are sending your little one to preschool, or dropping your young adult off at college, here are a few tips to help keep your family’s spines healthy this school year.
1. Choose a proper backpack and wear it right.
A good backpack is light, snug and comfortable to wear. It should be made of vinyl or canvas, with wide padded shoulder straps and a waist strap. For the best, and proper support, all straps should be worn whenever in use, and adjusted so the pack is snug against the back. Don’t let it drape over your shoulder or hang from your back. Make sure the contents are evenly distributed, with the largest and heaviest items closest to your body.
2. Warm up before exercising.
Keep in mind, students who are returning to sports after summer break need to take time to let their bodies adjust. Start slowly, and encourage and allow your kids 15-20 minutes to warm up before playing. Warm-ups should consist of simple motions that simulate the sport being played, while increasing the heart rate and stretching soft tissue.
3. Lift with your legs.
If you are moving older kids into a new dorm or apartment, packing, lifting and climbing stairs can cause a flare-up of low back discomfort. Don’t overload boxes, and pack them so the contents will not shift. Make sure to use your body to its advantage. Lift with your legs, face your work, and stand so your nose, hips and toes are facing forward. Keep all objects as close to your body as possible, and bend at the hips and knees.
4. Focus on good posture.
Be sure to promote proper posture to your children when they are studying and sitting in class. While reading books, or working on a computer, use a book or monitor stand, so materials are at eye level. This will reduce the amount of strain on the neck and shoulders. While in class, sit with proper posture, shoulders back, chin tucked and a “C” curve in your low back. Avoid slumping, and make use of breaks by standing up, stretching and walking.
By Dr. Amber York, contributing writer and chiropractor at Towne Lake Family Chiropractic.