As August draws to an end and September approaches, for many it means the books are reclaimed from the depths of the cupboards and the dust is cleared away from the desks. The lunch time cheers that can be heard for miles as children play outside will resume once again as we welcome a new school year. Colleges and universities will also open their doors and become a hive of activity. We know many of you reading this will have family or friends who will be returning to their studies, or you may be returning yourself, so this week we wanted to provide some ideas that you can use and share with those around you, to help you take care of your spine during this term and beyond. If you are not studying, we recommend you persevere and continue reading, as you may find these tips helpful too! Those annoying aches and pains that you may have experienced yourself at some point during your life are often caused by a number of factors. Unfortunately, poor posture and sitting for extended periods of time can be a part of it, which is what the majority of students spend their time doing. So hopefully this information will help to prevent these symptoms and make the upcoming term a positive one, not only for your studies but for the health of your spine too. So, here are 5 ways to keep your spine moving well whilst studying and beyond: 1. Carry a bag on two shoulders We know this might cause resistance as it may not fit in with the latest trends, but simply moving from a shoulder bag to a bag with adjustable shoulder straps can make a huge difference with how the weight of the bag is distributed. The uneven load of carrying a bag on one shoulder can result in neck and shoulder complaints due to the repeated stress to the area. It can also cause one side of the body to work harder, which can impact posture and tension through the spine. Therefore, we would recommend using a bag with two straps and for the bag to be sat high on your back to provide additional support. 2. Reducing the load Following on from the type of bag, the next question to ask is “what is in the bag?” Are there items that can be left in the classroom or is it even required? Carrying heavy books, folders, stationery, and sports gear can all add up and put pressure through the spine. Having an appropriate bag will certainly help, but if there is a way of reducing the weight it will assist the spine even further. 3. Feet on the ground As you read this blog, you may be doing this right now. We are all guilty of it at one time or another! Crossing our legs or holding our body in twisted positions can create tension through our spine and lower body. Over a period of time the tension can manifest into discomfort such as lower back or glute pain. Therefore, whilst sitting at a desk, keeping both feet flat on the floor and knees at a right angle will help to keep the spine in a neutral position and reduce tension. 4. Time out and fresh air There is no getting away from the fact that traditional studying involves a lot of sitting. Being mindful of posture whilst sitting will help, but we are designed to move, so encouraging our students to stand up and move around frequently will help to create that essential movement through the spine. We would recommend standing up every 20 minutes where possible, and when it comes to breaks in the day, getting outside in fresh air, running around and playing will do wonders for the spine and help to give the brain some well needed down time from the focused studies. 5. Hydration We know drinking water is something we talk about often, but we share it as a reminder because it is one of the simplest things we can all do to maintain good health. If you are considering buying some back to school goodies, how about investing in a new water bottle?! You can buy all sorts of fun bottles which can encourage children (and adults) to drink water. That dip of energy in class where it’s difficult to keep the eyes open, the mood changes where everything seems hard work, the aches and pains that can be distracting and recurring headaches that make the days drag could all be linked to dehydration. So there you go! Simple suggestions we know, but it is often the small changes that make a big difference when it comes to your health. If you are looking for further guidance or support, the beauty of chiropractic care is that it can be tailored to people of all ages, so feel free to get in touch, we are here to help. The content of this blog is for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.
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