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Straighten Up!

Postural problems among children and teenagers are frequently a cause of concern for parents and teachers. The child may have a pronounced slouch or curvature in the upper back while standing or sitting, and often the head and neck are thrust forward, rather than being carried in a straight line with the spine.

There is reason to be concerned about poor postural habits in children. The alignment of the spine can be affected permanently because the vertebrae are growing and gradually changing throughout childhood and adolescence until the growth plates fuse. Also, poor sitting posture puts stress on the discs in the low back.

One reason that parent’s admonitions to "stand up straight" have little effect is that in many cases, poor posture is a response to abnormal joint movement in the spine. These problems may have been present for some time. If the spinal joints are not moving properly, it may be actually uncomfortable or even painful to stand straight. In some cases the child is not able to stand properly. Frequently correction of joint fixations leads to noticeable improvement in posture.

Exercise also has a beneficial effect on posture. The child or teenager who is active - walking, running or engaged in athletic activities on a regular basis will have much better posture than one who is sedentary.

A chiropractor can tell you whether spinal problems may be contributing to or causing poor posture and can also recommend exercises to correct bad postural habits.

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