Whether it's at school or in the office, you've probably noticed the universal slouch – everyone hunched over their gadgets or desks, looking like they're trying to merge with their chairs. Well, guess what? That poor posture could lead to the dreaded "postural kyphosis" or rounded back.
But fear not, because Dr. Lau Leok Lim, Consultant in Spine Surgery at the National University Health System (NUHS), has some amazing advice to share.
My Posture, My Choice
"Bad posture is a choice, not a condition," says Dr. Lau. Blame it on unsuitable study desks, those cool but impractical bags slung over one shoulder, or weak core muscles due to a lack of exercise – poor posture often creeps in when we're not looking. Dr. Lau insists that tackling these issues early is key.
What can set off your alarm bells?
How do you know if one has postural kyphosis? Keep an eye out for uneven shoulder blades, a perpetually forward-bent head, or complaints of stiffness, pain, or numbness. Dr. Lau suggests some actions for concerned parents:
Get the Right Desk:
Adjust your child's study desk to elbow height. The neck should be straight, not tilted down. Remember, kids grow faster than weeds, so be vigilant and tweak those desk heights accordingly.
Choose the Right Bag:
Pick one that fits your child's frame, with well-padded straps and backing. It should distribute the load evenly, and a waist belt is a bonus to keep that bag close to the body. Keep an eye on that bag weight – it shouldn't be more than 10-15% of your child's body weight.
Check Posture Regularly:
Watch out for bad habits, especially when sitting or using mobile phones. Dr. Lau encourages parents to focus on improving their child's posture at rest, setting them up for a lifetime of good posture.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise:
Weak core muscles also plays a part. Dr. Lau recommends outdoor activities like swimming and ball games to keep those muscles strong. Remember, a sedentary lifestyle can be a slippery slope to postural troubles.
One more Chance!
The good news? Postural kyphosis is completely reversible! Dr. Lau suggests physical therapy to correct body posture, strengthen back muscles, and improve the condition. However, ignore these warning signs, and you might find yourself dealing with spine issues in adulthood.