COVID-19 can directly or indirectly impact more than just the individuals who have this virus. The global pandemic is also contributing to an uptick in spine-related discomfort in younger people. While back pain isn’t normally associated with this particular age group and usually isn’t serious enough to require treatment such as back fusion alternatives, Los Angeles parents should be aware of these reasons COVID-19 is contributing to more spinal aches and pains in children.
Because of COVID-19, a lot of school-related sports activities have been curtailed or eliminated altogether. This is one reason children may be less physically active right now. Getting less exercise is also a top factor when it comes to back pain. To keep the spine and its parts healthy, kids should aim for roughly 1–3 hours of physical activity per day.
School desks are, at a minimum, designed to keep kids in a position that’s good for developing spines. With pandemic-related online learning, children may end up slouching in comfortable chairs or relaxing on soft beds with laptops in front of them. Since posture of this nature isn’t good for younger spines, encourage your child to practice good posture while learning at home by sitting in a comfortable yet supportive chair. Also, provide periodic posture reminders.
This term refers to the excessive neck craning or leaning that’s common when using a tablet, smartphone, or similar handheld or portable device. It’s a problem that can contribute to upper back and/or neck pain in children. Mitigate this issue by limiting electronics use when your kids aren’t using devices for learning purposes. Adjustable laptop or tablet stands can also help with posture and alignment.
When children are in school, they typically get up and walk from one class to another at regular intervals. This movement is good for young spines, since it keeps spine-supporting muscles limber while also shifting spine stress to other areas. If your child is spending more time at home because of COVID-19, minimize inactivity by encouraging breaks between online learning sessions and reminding him or her to regularly stretch and shift positions.
Being at home more often with easy access to the fridge and no need to wait for a lunch period can be tempting for some children. Couple this with limited physical activity due to pandemic-related circumstances, and there’s the possibility of weight gain. This could contribute to back pain by placing extra stress on spinal bones, joints, and discs. Help your child keep his or her weight in check by:
• Making light, healthy snacks easily accessible
• Encouraging your child to drink water throughout the day
• Planning healthy lunches around the same time each day, if possible, to discourage unhealthy snacking
Regardless of whether or not COVID-19 may be a direct or indirect factor, back pain in children isn’t something to ignore. Have your child evaluated by a doctor or a spine specialist if he or she has been showing signs of spine issues or complaining about back and/or neck pain lately.
Back pain occurs in every age group, and children are no exception. If your child is experiencing severe or prolonged back pain, see your doctor or a Los Angeles spine surgeon for prompt diagnosis and treatment. The industry-leading spinal health specialists at The Spine Institute have years of experience treating every kind of back and neck pain in people of all ages, so call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a personal consultation.