Back Care Awareness Week 2017

Back Pain in Education

Taking care of your back is something many people overlook, but having and maintaining good posture from an early age is a major step in preventing back pain. Whilst there are many causes of back pain, such as heavy lifting, there are other less obvious causes that result from accumulative incorrect spinal stresses and resulting poor posture. These accumulative stresses and strains are attributed to many causes, but our modern day sedentary lifestyles are through to be a significant contributing factor.

Did you know that back pain is one of the top common causes of absence from work throughout the country? The cost to the UK economy is a staggering £15 billion every year as over four million working days are lost as the result*. Of course, these figures relate to working adults who suffer with back pain. Many of these back pain issues begin in children, and although not always apparent or even symptomatic, it is the culmination of years of poor spinal function that ultimately contribute to the onset of postural and spinal conditions which may present as back pain in adult life. BackCare reported that one quarter of UK secondary school pupils suffer from regular or daily back pain.

Whilst no one is immune from back pain, there are some simple things children can do to promote a better posture and help reduce the risk of back pain.

  • Stand straight and tall with your head high. Put your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles in a straight line and pull your belly button in.
  • Make sure you school rucksack is kept light. Remove and unnecessary excess weight and take only essential items.
  • Carry your rucksack over both shoulders, with the straps adjusted so that the bag is held close to the back and weight is evenly distributed.
  • Take regular exercise – the fitter you are as a child the less likely you are to injure yourself.
  • Move around and don’t stay still for too long. Limit time at the computer or watching TV to 40 minutes at a time. Get up and take a break – do something else for a while.
  • When using a PC or a computer console – be sure to sit comfortably with the spine supported. It can be difficult to realise that a posture is painful if being distracted by the games!
  • Make sure you have good footwear; soft-soled shoes that are supported and have a good grip will make it easier to carry a heavy school bag.

BackCare, the national charity for those impacted by back and neck pain, is targeting this year’s campaign at children and teenagers, Back Pain in Education. This year’s campaign is being run in partnership with a community interest company known as kidsbacks4thefuture. This Essex based company is run by Lyndee Oscar, a registered osteopath with 25 years’ experience, who has delivered effective and innovative work with schools.

Dr Brian Hammond, the Chair of BackCare said: “Early teaching of children and young people of the importance of taking care of their backs is bound to have a positive effect on the health of their backs as adults. He added: “There are simple things children and young people can do, such as sitting properly and not for too long, exercising regularly, stretching and lifting correctly. They also need to know how to carry their school books and equipment in a way that does not harm their back or neck.”

*BackCare Press Notice 2017