EXPERTS believe that backache and other related conditions are one of the main reasons of disability in the labour market. The financial costs of treatment relating to such conditions are apparently higher than any other medical conditions in South Africa. However, much can be done to prevent spinal injuries.
“Habits of good posture should already be instilled during childhood,” says Ms Magda Fourie, a physiotherapist from Bloemfontein. Research has shown that young people already need treatment for neck and back problems from a physiotherapist at a relatively young age. According to experts, this can be ascribed to the modern lifestyle of the day in which children “grow up” in front of the television and computers. Sitting for long periods of time can result in bad habits that are very difficult to break at a later stage. Bad posture can lead to serious backache and pain in the neck. The culture of television and computers develop habits of inactivity and for that reason the modern child is also more obese than in the past.
Children should be encouraged to be more active and measures should be taken to restrict the amount of time they spend in front of the television and the computer. Experts agree that the best way to implement this is to incorporate exercise as a part of the family’s daily activities – the best form of teaching children is, after all, by following their parents example.
The tabletop of the desk should always be at the child’s elbow height while seated. It should be possible to move the chair up against the desk. The ideal tabletop should be at a slight angle. All this is to prevent the child from having to lean forward when he has to reach something or when he has to write. If a desk with a slope is not available, a book or a bookstand can be used for this purpose.