How Students Can Improve Back, Neck Health Following Extended Time Virtual Learning


Thursday, August 11th 2022, 5:11 pm



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During the pandemic, students spent a lot of time on their phones or computers learning.

Orthopedic surgeons said they have had an increase in children with back pain over the past two years. Now, with a fresh start to a new school year, there are tips for keeping your kids back and neck strong.

"So they may be laying on the couch out, or lying in their bed or even sitting on the floor trying to utilize a laptop or a tablet,” OU Health pediatric surgeon Dr. T.R. Lewis said. “And that puts them in a poor position.”

According to the Health Policy Institute, most Americans will deal with back pain during their life, but it could start earlier.

“So, parents, if you can lighten your child's backpack before heading to school, that can help,” Dr. Lewis said. “It's recommended the backpack not exceed 10% to 15% of the student's body weight.”  

Research found 38% of students carry loads greater than 20% of their body weight daily.

If your child has to get items to school, doctors said to make sure they even out the weight and are using both backpack straps.

Encouraging your student to look up from their tablets and stretch and encourage good posture in the classroom is also recommended.

"I think there are probably lots of different recommendations on that,” Dr. Lewis said. “I think a neutral sitting posture is probably the best. So, if you are sitting not to the side and not curled up, sitting comfortably in a chair, either with your back, resting up forward.”

If your child does have a lot of homework or other activities on the phone or tablet, doctors said to be sure they are taking study breaks and working on their ab strength.

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