Does your child spend at least 1 hour per day on a computer or laptop? Most parents will answer this question with a “yes”………… Has your child complained of neck , shoulder, lower back pain or headaches? If the answer is yes, then consider that the hours spent on the computer may well be the culprit. Studies indicate that musculoskeletal discomfort (back pain, neck pain, headaches etc.) amongst children, particularly adolescents, is on the increase. It is very important to educate your child on basic computer ergonomics, posture and carrying schoolbags so as to prevent musculoskeletal dysfunction and sports injuries. Yes, sports injuries can be caused from poor ergonomics or the lack of. This happens because the body develops tension and muscle imbalance with poor sustained posturing while using a computer for long periods of time. Time is relative, but a sustained posture in front of a computer for 20 minutes is long enough to tighten muscles.
What should your child’s schoolbag weigh? Ten percent of their body weight!!! Take a moment and weigh your child’s schoolbag and see what you find. Ideally, if the schoolbag is too heavy, get your child to unload some of their books from the bag and rather carry them in their arms.
Educating your child on basic ergonomics can reduce the potential for sports injuries. The Rivonia Physiotherapy Practice in Johannesburg is treating children with pain due to inappropriate ergonomics on a regular basis, as well as resulting sport injuries. In response to this they have played an integral role in establishing a programme specifically aimed at targeting this problem before it becomes critical. The Ergoskills for Schools programme was launched in August, and is taught during a life orientation or computer studies lesson.
The above picture shows you how your child should set up their workstation. It is also essential to teach your child not to sit for too long a period at a time and to do some basic neck and back stretches.
So encourage your child to FEEL it, MOVE it, FIX it and they will be happier and better sportsmen and women on the sports field!