“Are young backs being damaged in the Modern Classroom?”
Solid chairs and old sloping wooden desks have long been replaced by their new, shiny and cheaper counterparts. The non-adjustable and unergonomic flat table and £10 moulded plastic chair rule.
Young backs are being damaged on a daily basis contributing to the £1 Billion annual treatment bill the NHS spends on people with back pain.
Body Stress Release practitioners, who often see the consequences of child back pain, are using National BackCare Awareness Week (17th-23rd October) to highlight the problem.
“Schools aren’t aware of the consequences of buying the wrong furniture for the classroom”
Says Annabel Boys, PhD, a Body Stress Release practitioner based at theQueen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
“We’re discovering that many children are slumped over laptops or desks. And they carry books and equipment to and from school that are too heavy because of lack of storage space. These are causing neck and back pain for thousands of children.”
Working in an office at a desk or computer an adult is protected by legislation. But in schools there aren’t any regulations on the furniture children have to work at. Annabel explains why this matters:
“Children vary enormously in their size, height and weight throughout their school career, much more so than adults. But there’s a “one size fits all' policy when it comes to furniture. They spend long periods sat down and this can cause uneven tension in muscles. A child with tension in their neck may lack concentration and become disruptive and this tension builds up.”
Gill, a Mother of a 12 year old boy explains how her son developed chronic headaches because of the school environment.
"My son came home from school nearly every day with a headache. It came on after lunch and when he went to bed at night it was still there. Pain killers from the GP helped, but he couldn't live like that for the rest of his life. After only four sessions of Body Stress Release his headaches have gone. He smiles and plays again like he used to.”
Eight-year-old Catherine was suffering with headaches every day and complained that her neck hurt even when she didn’t have a headache. The headaches were particularly bad after having had to sit on a hard floor at school for any length of time. She also complained that carrying her school bag (a satchel which hung from one shoulder and was incredibly heavy for such a young child) made it worse.
Over a number of appointments tension was released from her neck until the headaches eventually ceased. A few months later, after practising for sports day, the headaches returned, but were resolved in two further sessions.
Sixteen-year-old Max was suffering with exam stress and said his whole spine felt tight and he had discomfort in one of his shoulders and pain in his neck. After the first session Max commented that his spine felt a lot looser and that he had noticed an improvement in his posture. After five sessions the tightness and discomfort had gone altogether.
In an ideal world, our schools would be equipped with the most suitable equipment, regardless of cost. Instead of supermarkets marketing “computers for schools” or “books for schools” maybe “ergonomic furniture for schools” would be better.
“As well as helping solve health problems through Body Stress Release, we owe it to our children to educate them about good posture. And we want to make sure Head Teachers make it a subject as common place as lessons on healthy eating.”
Readers can get a free hard copy of a book on Body Stress Release by visiting www.freebodystressbook.com or more information from your local Body Stress Practitioner in Ware, Charlotte Richardson-Knott MBSRA ISMA - Telephone 01920 460 458 or email email@example.com
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