A healthy spine holds it self up independently. A healthy spine claims the space that it needs unabashedly. A healthy spine is flexible yet not contorted. Does your spine bend? Of course! Is your spine one of your joints? No. Your spine needs to be flexible in order to remain healthy but your joints must do their part. Although you may have to think in a way that you are not accustomed to; try to become acquainted with you joints. These places are your “bendy” parts and they are often neglected, at the peril of your aching back. Case in point: When was the last time that you saw a grown man or woman waiting for a bus, supporting their spine independently? Not by sitting but by squatting. What’s that, never? Of course, no one squats! Would you be caught in public in a pose associated with girls taking an emergency pee in the woods? Even if you don’t care about breaking the societal norm, could you even execute such a pose? Try. Do your two feet form a stable base for your weight or do they splay out awkwardly, twitching violently under the strain. Can you manage the balance? Have you keeled over, lying on the floor in the fetal position? If you stay in the pose for an extended period of time, do your toes turn all pins and needles? Once you’ve achieved the pose and noticed the intense and yet fabulous sensation of release in your lumbar area, do your thighs have it in them to bring you back to standing? Do you even know where your ankles are? Forget it, just flop down on the bench.
Now, watch children, how do they fare? Their feet are parallel AND flat on the floor. Their ankles, knees and hips are bent with the bottom of their pelvis resting comfortably near the backs of heels, folded into a human chair. Newsflash: Humans don’t need chairs, we have one built in. Think about your spine. Where does it start? Where does it end? Alexander Technique, developed by an actor in the 19th century as a method of effective vocal production, teaches proper alignment by encouraging one to allow the spine to hold itself. The idea is to be conscious of the structures inside your body that you will never see but nonetheless have ultimate control over. So, again, where is your spine? Its pretty long and it involves areas of your body that you probably do not think of as your “back”. From the bottom of your skull to the top of your legs, this is one piece! So, your back is really your neck, your back and your butt. Try this, bend over. Wait! What are you going to bend? Your back? OK, so bend it over as one piece. Can you? Put your fingers in front of your hip joints. My what now? After years of under utilization, you may not know where your hip joints are. Now bend over at this joint with your back (remember that’s your neck, your back and your butt) staying as one piece. Wait a minute; is your back even bending? No, because it’s not a joint! Stretch your mind; bend your joints and not your back!
One of the biggest events of the year for both kids and parents is the back to school season. A portion of summer vacation and sections of department stores are usually reserved specifically for back to school shopping. Each year parents and kids equipped themselves with a list detailing all the school supplies a student would need for the coming school year. Somewhere near the top of that list is most often “New Backpack”. Given the opportunity, kids typically make their perfect backpack pick based on superficial things such as brand, style, color etc. However, parents, while being far more concerned with sending their child back to school armed for academic excellency, don’t always realize that hidden dangers may be looming directly on the backs of their child in the form of a stylish backpack. According to a 2010 study by The University of California not having the right backpack could mean minor injuries ranging form an aching head, back, neck and shoulders to serious long-term injuries such as hunched posture, server back pains, and other major back and spinal disorders. Choosing the right backpack should not be made on a whim, as it will cost you and your child in the long run. So, how should one choose “the right backpack” to prevent back injury? Well, listed below are a few guidelines that should be followed when choosing an appropriate backpack for your child that goes beyond the physical appearance.
According to an article written by Amee LaTour for EZinearticles.com, guidelines to take in to consideration are as followed: Wide, padded shoulder straps: This feature prevents straps from digging into your child’s shoulders while spreading the weight of the bag’s contents over a wider area. A U-shaped connection at the top of the straps is a bonus feature, as it further reduces strain on the child’s shoulders and neck. Padded back: This prevents book corners and other objects from stabbing the child’s spine and back muscles. This stabbing can not only lead to bruises but can also cause the child to shift and jerk the weight of the bag around frequently, risking strain to the muscles. Compartments: A bag with compartments allows for organization and stability. It is best to keep heavy items at the bottom of the bag and close to the child’s back; the hips will carry the weight, relieving strain from the back.
Adjustable straps: This allows the bag to be held at the proper height and, therefore, the contents to be kept close to the child’s center of gravity. Bags that sag below a child’s hips cause the spine to arch backwards. Range of sizes: Adjustable straps won’t compensate for a bag that is just too big for your child’s torso. Waist and/or chest straps: These features stabilize the shoulder straps and hold the bag snugly against the child’s body.” Now, following all the guidelines and choosing the perfect backpack, le kid is officially set for a fun, safe school year, right? Well, not so fast. Although you may be successful in choosing just the right backpack, not explaining to your child the importance of using it correctly (adjusting to fit, using both straps, not over-loading) can make all your hard work but mere vanity. For best practice, parents must instruct and encourage their children to use his/her backpack properly.