Can your teenager touch their toes?

By 11th July 2019 Blog

It’s very interesting as an Osteopath thinking about how and when back problems start?

As a generalisation I think that they usually start to manifest chronically in adults over the age of forty but their origins may be in childhood. However anyone at any age can hurt their back even children & teenagers. The difference is that the younger you are the quicker your back will recover so children rarely need more than a couple of treatments to get well.

The causes of back pain are either from an injury, poor posture or prolonged immobility; that is either doing too little or too much. The result of which is inflexibility and pain.

One should never dismiss the injuries and pains of childhood even though they tend to disappear quickly. However any prolonged symptoms [more than 7 days] should prompt a visit to your Osteopath.

One of the things that surprise me is the inflexibility I come across in teenagers. Many of the ones I treat can’t touch their toes because their hip flexibility is restricted. This is something I’ve seen throughout my career stretching back 36 years so it is not a new phenomenon.

As a generalisation kids keep active, however with more and more of them using their computers to play games as opposed to running around, one wonders what the future holds for not only their back health but their general health too. Not to mention the one’s doing too much sport!!

More and more evidence is coming out with regards to adults and prolonged sitting. Not only talking about back pain, diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease but increase risks of mortality!!

How is the increased amount of sitting going to affect the life expectance of our children? Will we see lessons times limited to 50 minute say? What will happen to double lessons! I know there has been a cut back in games at school but maybe the Government will have a rethink this especially with obesity rates on the rise too.

The majority of my patients are over 50 but maybe there will be an increase in younger people developing back problems. I certainly do see people in their 20s, 30s & 40s and I’m sure this will only increase at time goes on due to excessive sitting.

So in conclusion, frequent sitting for anyone for more than 60 minutes is harmful. To combat it just get up have a glass or water, answer the phone or walk round the room. That’s all you need. At the same time keep an eye on your children and try to limit their computer use and keep them active.

You might find this video interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnpHLxlj3fQ

If you have any concerns about your child’s back please feel free to contact me for a chat 020 8954 2254