Healthy Spines for Kids

As a parent, I witness what this article speaks about daily.  I think one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the ability to take care of themselves through using their own awareness.  

Spinal health in kids decreases significantly

CAPE TIMES / 16 October 2016, 9:25pm

Lisa Isaacs

THE prevalence of musculoskeletal spinal pain (MSP) in children and adolescents has increased significantly in recent years and ranges between 15 and 35 percent research has found.

MSP, which includes neck, thoracic and lower back pain in children and adolescents, has become a global health concern, and a focus as the globe marked World Spine Day yesterday.

Stellenbosch University physiotherapist Yolandi Brink said there is emerging evidence that children, especially adolescents who report persistent pain, are at increased risk of chronic pain as adults.

“MSP is one of the most common causes of severe long-term pain and physical disability. The biggest risk
factor for experiencing MSP in adulthood is the occurrence of a first episode of MSP during childhood or adolescence.

“School-related factors such as backpack use and school furniture ergonomics, psychosocial factors such as anxiety, depression and psychosomatic symptoms and lifestyle factors such as physical fitness and nutrition have been associated with causing MSP.”

Whether these factors are true causal factors remains unknown, Brink said.

“MSP conditions are often recurrent in nature, occurring throughout the life course.”

Attempts to understand these conditions at a time close to their initial onset may offer a better chance of developing effective prevention and treatment strategies.

The Chiropractic Association of SA says while more people are living longer, they do so with an increasing risk of living with the burden of pain, disability and disease compared to past generations.

A series of studies emerging from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Project show that musculoskeletal conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain and arthritis affect more than 1.7 billion people worldwide.

Musculoskeletal conditions represent the sixth leading cause of death and disability, with only cardiovascular and circulatory diseases, neonatal diseases, neoplasms, and mental and behavioural disorders accounting for more death and disability worldwide.

Brink suggests that children and adolescents should carry school backpacks which weigh less than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight and use wide padded shoulder straps over both shoulders, to avoid MSP. The duration of carrying the backpack should be limited.

Children and adolescents should limit their time sitting as much as possible and specifically children should not engage in more than one hour of screen time (television and computers) per day and adolescents should not exceed two hours per day.

Children and adolescents should be encouraged to
participate in at least 60
minutes of physical activity or exercise daily.

A well-balanced diet, which includes limiting the overconsumption of Vitamin B12 – found in eggs, cereals and meat – is also important, she added.