We are spending more time now than ever doing schoolwork with our kids and noticing all of those little things in how they are sitting, standing and behaving. While they are sitting doing their schoolwork, are they sitting up straight? While they are out running and playing, are they moving their body with the correct form? And what about you? As you are working from home and helping with your child’s schoolwork, do you have good posture or are you bending over and straining your body?
Posture is so much more than just sitting up straight and standing tall, it is the position of the body or the position of several parts of the body with respect to each other for a particular purpose. When our posture is not what it is supposed to be, it is a sign that your body is not functioning the way that it is designed. So what should we look for in different ages.
Part of my initial evaluation on every patient, from a few days old to those that are grandparents is to evaluate posture. I look at slightly different things in each age group but what someone’s posture is tells me so much about what is going on with their spine.
In an infant, I look at the position and symmetry of their leg creases (or fat rolls) on the back of their legs and at their head to see if it is tilted. As the child becomes weight bearing, I am able to evaluate for shoulder tilt and hip imbalances. In a young child, it may seem odd for them to have any postural deviations but due to birth stress and falls in learning to move/walk, they may have developed some asymmetries in their posture.
As the child ages, they experience more falls and injuries associated with being an active kid and being involved in sports. They are also more likely to spend more time in front of a TV or on their devices with their head in a down position and their shoulders hunched forward. In response to these stresses, the body will begin to adapt resulting in improper alignment leading to postural deviations. Most likely the child will not experience any symptoms of pain or discomfort, but they are developing asymmetries in their body.
In the teenager, the stress that they have been experiencing as a child are compounded by additional strains leading to more significant postural deviations. And in this age range, it is now common for them to start to experience some discomforts and symptoms as a result of these deviations. This may look like neck and shoulder tension, headaches, digestive issues and menstrual problems in girls.
If nothing is done about the postural deviations that are seen in the teenager things just continue to compound leading to bigger problems for adults. This almost always results in pain and tension throughout the body leading to chronic pain and general dis-ease of the body.
Do you want to know what is going on with your child’s posture? Here is a brief at home postural screening of your child. If we are not aware of an issue, we cannot take the first step in resolving it. And honestly, you can do this evaluation on yourself as well!
1. Look at the bottom of the ears- if one is higher than the other, there is a head tilt present and is a sign of a possible neck misalignment.
2. Look at the shoulders- they should be level and if they are not, then this could be a sign of a mid-back issue.
3. Place your hands on your child’s hips- if one hand is higher than the other, there is a hip tilt and can be an indicator of a misalignment in the low back, sacrum or sacroiliac joint.
1. Look to see where the ear lobe is in relation to the shoulder- it should be directly over the shoulder. If it is in front of the shoulder this could indicate an issue with the neck curve.
2. Are the shoulder hunched or rolled forward? – this could be a sign of a lower neck or upper back issue.
While doing this evaluation, if there is any discomfort or pain while trying to stand up straight, this is a sign that they should have their spine evaluated as there could be more going on.
In the office I use an awesome app that takes patients pictures and analyzes postural deviations. This allows for us to track changes very specifically to see that progress is being made and that we are affecting how the body is actually functioning more optimally and this lets us see the impact of chiropractic care in posture. If you would be interested in having your posture evaluated, please let me know and we can set up a time for you to come in for a postural evaluation. As always, please let me know if you have any questions!