Back to School without Back Pain: Follow These Tips for a Healthy Spine
Summer is almost over, and students across the country are getting ready to return to school. However, a return to education might also mean the return of back pain for some students. Back pain can result in severe pain and discomfort, making most everyday tasks like going to school painful. However, there are five ways to go back to school without back pain, such as practicing good posture, buying the right backpack, and more.
Practice Good Posture
When your child is spending up to eight hours a day sitting at a desk, the way they sit matters to the health of their spine. Too many kids tend to slouch in their seats or sit with their shoulders rounded, putting unnecessary strain on the spine. Instead, encourage them to practice good posture when sitting by:
- Keeping their feet flat on the floor in front of you.
- Holding their arms at your sides so they form an L-shape at the elbow.
- Keeping their back against the back of the chair.
- Keeping their head straight and adjusting your entire body when looking in a different direction.
Before school starts, practice good posture with your child at home. Then, remind them to check and adjust their posture multiple times throughout the day.
Buy the Right Backpack
High school and college students must carry books from class to class, so your child likely spends most of their day wearing their backpack. Backpacks that do not fit well can put downward pressure on the lower back. When buying a backpack, choose one with padded straps and a waistband. The waistband helps balance the load equality across the shoulders and keeps the backpack from pulling on the back. Additionally, encourage your student to use both straps. Some kids like only to use one, which puts uneven pressure on the spine.
Wear the Right Shoes
Flip-flops and Crocs might be the most popular shoes among students of all ages, but they are less than ideal to wear all day. Depending on the campus, high school or college students can walk many miles a day, and wearing the wrong shoes can put unneeded stress on the spine. Furthermore, flip-flops may cause a student to trip and fall, causing back pain. Instead, invest in a comfortable, supportive, and well-fighting sneaker for daily use.
Warm-Up Before Sports and Exercise
Back pain is common among student-athletes, but your child does not have to forgo sports or exercise to maintain a healthy back. In fact, regular exercise may help them maintain a healthy weight, which is great for back health. When they do participate in sports or general exercise, they must adequately stretch and warm up first. Doing so may prevent strains and sprains.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Life can be hectic during the school year, but maintaining a healthy diet is crucial to your back health. Diets rich in vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, helping prevent and manage back pain. Foods to include your child’s diet include greens, cherries, carrots, salmon, and watermelon. Instead of giving your child money to buy lunch food, pack them a healthy lunch.
Speak to a Back Doctor in New Jersey
While we all want the best for our children, sometimes back pain is unavoidable. However, your child might not know how to describe their pain. If this is the case, take our free online Pain Assessment Tool. Once you discover where the pain originates, find treatment options best for your student through our Treatment Finder.
Additionally, consulting with the back doctors at New Jersey Spine & Orthopedic may be helpful. Our doctors can treat various conditions through conservative healing methods, such as physical therapy. To schedule an appointment with a board-certified back doctor in New Jersey, call (866) 272-9271 or complete our contact form.