It’s the last week of January and our Vic kids are returning to school. After a long summer, we find kids coming into the clinic with sports injuries and various muscle and joint pain or conditions including sore feet, heels, shins, quads, tight shoulders and necks, sore hips, backs, and more.
To assist with pain prevention we’ve come up with a list of things to consider when returning to school:
- School bags
- School shoes
- Home and school ergonomics
- Exercise / sport
- Sleep routine
- Keep the weight in the bag to a minimum. The current recommendation is no more than 15% of the child’s body weight.
- Does everything need to come to school every day? Homework and library books can usually stay at home and only come to school on the day they need them. Empty the bag regularly and question what is necessary.
- Use both shoulder straps and the waist straps. This will help distribute the weight to the hips and not the shoulders and back.
A good shoe that fits properly is important. After weeks of wearing no shoes, or only wearing thongs and crocs, getting back into wearing school shoes can be hard work for our kids. A recent Choice article highlights ‘The bones in young children’s feet don’t fuse together until puberty. This means their feet can lack muscle strength and be prone to hypermobility.” It goes on to state “Without support, children are in danger of developing flat feet, sore knees, shin splints, and even back pain”.
Home and school ergonomics
Back to school means back to homework. Kids should be sitting properly to avoid strains on their neck, shoulders, and back. Just like adults, kids sitting at their home computers need the correct ergonomic setup. Click here for a more detailed article on ergonomics we put together.
Screen time can be part of a healthy lifestyle. It needs to be monitored and balanced with other more active activities. Posture while using screen time is also important and assists in limiting pain, strain and discomfort that we see in the clinic.
Exercise / Sport
The Australian Government recommends that children aged 5-12 years through to adolescents need to do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day and more activity is good. This should include a range of activities to get their heart rate and breathing rate up, as well as activities that strengthen their muscles and bones. Kids naturally run around at lunchtime while at school, other non-structured ways to increase their physical activity are to walk or ride to school, walk to the shops, go on a bike ride, or play footy at the park.
This week many kids also return to their structured sports. As they return to sport after having a break consider:
- properly warming up
- using proper equipment (especially shoes, mouth guards, shin guards, and helmets)
- build up slowly (strength and reps)
- don’t overdo it – watch for signs of burnout
- cool down properly
- remain hydrated
- have at least one day per week of non-organised sport for recovery (you can still maintain one hour of leisure exercise)
- book in for a treatment with us or your preferred medical professional for the right treatment if they suffer an injury or have pain
Children of all ages need to get enough sleep so that they can play, learn concentrate, and manage their moods and behaviour. It assists with healthy well-being, reduces clumsiness, strengthens your child’s immune system, and reduces the risk of infection and illness. Organizing or encouraging a bed routine that sets up good sleep habits will assist children immediately and all through their lives. Poor sleep contributes to the pain cycle and is a question we ask in our treatments.
Our Osteos see people from all stages of life including children. If your child has muscle or joint pain (sports-related, tight neck, shoulders, sore back, etc) we may be able to assist. At their initial appointment, we would ask about their lifestyle – what sports they play, how much time they spend on screens, what shoes they wear, type of school bag, how much sleep they get, diet, etc. We may also ask where the pain is, how long they’ve had it, and when does it flare up. From there we may provide a hands-on treatment using soft tissue massage, and trigger point therapy. This could be at the source of the pain or on another part of the body as the pain may be referred from elsewhere. We also offer lifestyle advice similar to what is listed above (and more) for future pain prevention and management.
To book an appointment: online or call 03 9830 7044