According to specialists in the field, every third child suffers from spine problems. Rehabilitation physicians are faced with increasingly younger children requiring medical attention.
For children attending school, a very common problem that occurs is abnormal spine alignment, especially between the ages of 9 and 13. During this developmental stage, children are most likely to suffer from it due to hormonal changes and the onset of puberty. Parents are therefore strongly advised to monitor their child’s development and in case of any doubt to visit a general practitioner or a rehabilitation physician as soon as possible.
At Canadian Medical Care, a large portion of patients who are children are suffering from problematic spine alignment. Many of these students attend international schools where lessons are taught through computers. These children also suffer from vision impairment, feel more tired and the body often rests in an abnormal position (caused by hypotonia – muscle weakness). Back problems are also associated with certain sports which favor one-side of the body over the other (golf, tennis, hockey, squash etc.) and have become increasingly fashionable. Unfortunately, many of the children spend their free time sitting at computers, watching TV or playing with mobiles. All of these factors have a negative effect on their spine.
What are the most common problems children face?
Some of the most serious issues in children and adolescents include weakened (skewed) backs, stressed necks as well as migraines. Overall these issues are often caused by the general body posture. When the bodies become hypotonic and sudden growth during puberty begins to occur, a weakened muscle structure is unable to maintain the spine in its correct position. Unfortunately, children are often brought to rehabilitation physicians in a state where their spine structure begins to collapse.
How to avoid it? Frequent exercise and movement
Children which have spine/back problems require long-term therapy based on frequent exercise at home. For example, the child may receive five customized exercise types with choices such as whether to exercise with a ball, thera-bands or without any aids at all. The important aspect to ensure is that the child enjoys the exercises and does so correctly and regularly. The physiotherapist should shuffle and change the exercises over time.
Effective exercise may include exercise balls, yoga, breathing focused on bending the body, all of which many children enjoy. Children that show further interest can also have elements of deep stabilization in their exercises. Children suffering with scoliosis benefit from Vojta method therapy – i.e. addressing muscles that have a tendency to weaken.
Natural movement is strongly recommended as part of the therapy itself. These may include hiking, running, swimming (ideally in the summer) as well as cycling. Further, sports than engage the body equally, i.e. do not put greater emphasis on one side only, are also advised.