5 Musculoskeletal Tips for all Parents
by David Hummel, DC
Comber Physical Therapy & Fusion Chiropractic
Forward Head Posture
Everyone has heard “sit up straight” at the dinner table from one family member or another during their lives. However how often do we mention it when a child is playing video games on a TV or computer? A more common issue is excessive phone usage. When children are intrigued, they tend to lean over with their heads in a forward posture. In later teenage years, we may see them driving with their heads forward. It is important to tell your children to watch their posture, especially women who are more prone to dowager’s humps later in life. Try not to wait on changing a child’s posture after it starts to cause structural and muscle imbalances. If you do start to see certain postural changes, especially in teenagers, talk to your local chiropractor or physical therapist for advice on how to strengthen or stretch the muscles that have become weak or tight.
In the aforementioned tip, we spoke about forward head posture, sitting forward can lead to neck, headache, and shoulder pain later in life. However excessive sitting can also lead to something called anterior pelvic tilt. Excessive sitting combined with lack of physical activity and outdoor play can be detrimental for long term structural imbalances. Contact your local chiropractor or physical therapist for advice on how to strengthen or stretch the muscles that have become weak or tight.
This specific issue is personal to me because I walked on my toes for years. My parents wanted to rule out neurological deficits, which is possible for toe walkers, however most of the time toe walking is a condition that is acquired by bad habits. In my case, I was a stubborn child.
Encouraging your children once they understand what “heel-toe” means is crucial in preventing long term muscular imbalances. Failure to do so will lead to overactive calf muscles that can lead to plantar fasciitis and other long term leg, hip, and back problems. Contact your local chiropractor or physical therapist for advice on how to strengthen or stretch the muscles that have become weak or tight.
This is a controversial topic in which many medical doctors/orthopedists will indicate W sitting is perfectly normal. After the age of 6, I would express caution and partner with a good sports medicine doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist to make sure W sitting is not creating muscle imbalances. Too much “criss-cross apple sauce” could cause problems as well. Excessive sitting is the ultimate challenge here; however, it is my medical opinion that they sit on a chair as opposed to the floor. For more questions on how to strengthen your child’s core or other postural advice, schedule a consultation with your chiropractor or physical therapist.
If your child complains of back pain it can be as simple as taking some of the weight out of their backpack. A few simple adjustments like using both straps and adjusting the strapping to reduce sagging can reduce undue strain on their spine. When time will not help fix your child’s pain, consult your chiropractor or physical therapist to seek conservative treatment that may help your child’s back pain.