Online learning has continued into the new school year in many parts of the country. Some school districts are mixing things up with hybrid learning, which is a mix of in-person experiences and online lessons, to find a safe and acceptable balance. If your child is taking some or all of his or her classes online right now, it’s important to be mindful of his or her back health. Here are some tips to keep in mind to achieve this goal as virtual learning continues.
It’s tempting for a child taking classes online to slouch in a comfy chair or relax in bed while learning. However, seating options of this nature can put added stress and strain on the lower back and neck areas. Instead, steer your child toward a supportive office chair or a similar spine-friendly seating option.
It’s important for your child to pay attention to his or her lessons, but this shouldn’t mean spending hours sitting in the same position. Muscle groups that support the spine in some way need to be regularly stimulated and stretched. It’s also not good to put too much pressure on the same area of the spine for long periods. Remind your child to get up and move every 45–60 minutes or so or between online class sessions.
If your child’s school provides access to after-school activities or offers modified gym hours, make sure he or she is taking advantage of what’s available. Exercise is good for a growing spine because it keeps supporting parts healthy, stable, and strong. Also, set aside time for your child to exercise outside school hours. This could involve:
• Family activities
• Water-based exercises
Even younger spines need to be properly hydrated to ensure a steady flow of beneficial nutrients. Avoid issues with dehydration by encouraging your child to keep a bottle of water handy. Sugary beverages should be limited or avoided altogether because of their potential to contribute to inflammation.
A supportive chair isn’t going to do your child’s spine much good if he or she isn’t paying attention to his or her posture as well. Remind your child to do regular posture checks during his or her online learning sessions. Spine-friendly posture also involves:
• Not leaning forward excessively
• Keeping the head aligned with the shoulders
• Not slouching or leaning to one side in a chair
• Keeping the computer/laptop screen at eye level
Regularly remind your child to pay attention to his or her spine during daily lessons. Be just as proactive if you notice your child reporting any unusual aches and pains or if you see shifts in his or her posture or gait. With situations like these, a Los Angeles spine surgeon can make an accurate diagnosis and offer treatment recommendations.
Online learning can be fun for students, but if they’re hobbled by back or neck pain, it can easily turn into a life of drudgery. Students’ daily activities present constant opportunities to neglect their spine health, so make sure to keep these suggestions in mind as your kid goes throughout his or her day. If your child experiences any severe or unusual spine or neck pain, reach out to the specialists at The Spine Institute. We specialize in minimally invasive fusion and non-fusion procedures, including artificial disc replacement and back fusion alternatives. Los Angeles parents who want to take an active role in keeping their kids’ spines healthy can call 310-828-7577 to schedule an appointment.