Have your child ever complain about neck pain? Probably not as most are not even sure of where the pain comes from and what causes neck pain. More often than not, adults are the ones who suffer from all types of back pain including neck pain. Though children are more flexible, they do experience neck pain. When it happens we should take it seriously as this may lead to chronic pain.
However it is more prudent to find out what causes neck pain in our kids than subjecting them to medical tests and treatment when they get it.
Common Causes of Neck Pain Children
Carrying heavy load on the back
It is inconceivable that adults enjoy the convenience of reading books, emails and news on iPad and android phones, while our children have to lug so many heavy books to school. Invariably this will put great amount of pressure on their shoulder and neck muscles and distorting the natural ‘S’ curve of their spine. This is probably the main reason for neck pain in school going children.
So how much and what should they carry? As a guide, the schoolbag should not exceed 10% of the child’s weight. Instead of carrying the bag on one shoulder, they should carry backpack with a waist belt to help reduce load on the shoulders and strain on their neck. In a recent study in Australia, 79.1 per cent of the school children surveyed said their backpacks feel heavy and 46.1 per cent reported back pain caused by their backpacks.
Therefore it is important that the backpack should be correctly packed and fitted. Parents must show them the correct lifting and carrying techniques as they can get injured doing them wrongly.
Do you know that besides auto accidents and falls, sports accidents are the third most
common neck pain causes in children? They are prone to sports injuries because their coordination and risk assessment skills are not fully developed. They are kids after all and still growing up. Neck injuries resulting from sports, such as bicycling, skateboarding and football can be dangerous and must be taken seriously to avoid long term consequences.
To prevent sports related injuries we must always remind our kids to don proper wear, including the use of helmet, gloves, shoes and equipment for the appropriate sporting activities.
The incessant and prolong use of mobile phones is a trend not exclusive to adults. Our children have caught up with their phenomenal habit of texting with their smart phones. Imagine doing this looking down while carry a heavy backpack for extended period. Add on to the long hours sitting down in the classroom, hunching over video games at home, slouching on the sofa watching cartoons, and sleeping in an awkward position will all lead to structural changes in their bodies. The natural curve in their spine is subjected to great strain and stress, causing them neck and back pain.
Fortunately this problem can be reversed by stopping all the bad postures and doing special exercises for the back as well as the neck.
The neck pain in your child may be caused by diseases such as meningitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Meningitis is caused by viral infection and symptoms include headache, fever, and vomiting. The child will experience severe stiffness in the neck. Symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis are fever, swelling of the joints, fatigue and weakness and the pain becomes worse at night. If your child suffers from these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Daily stress and pressure
While adults experience work pressure our children are also under a great deal of stress. The education system is always seeking for perfection and they are under pressure to perform well in school. In many schools, compensation for the principals and teachers are based on the examination results and invariably the pressure is passed on to the children. Family and other problems will add on the stress which may lead to many health issues including neck pain.
So work life balance is equally applicable for our children, and we should never underestimate the effect of stress and pressure on the health of our young generation.
Most neck pain causes can be prevented by stopping all the bad habits. We must also give our children adequate space and proper rest so that their bodies are resilient enough to avoid the pain when it occurs.