Back To School Advice For Parents

back care advice for children from our cliffs chiropractor southendFor many parents the next week will be all about getting the children ready for the start of a new school term. There’s plenty to do from getting the school uniforms sorted out to making the last minute purchases of pencils, papers and pens.

It’s the time of year when our chiropractors turn their attention to reminding parents of the importance of  keeping their children’s back safe.

As chiropractors in our long established and busy chiropractic clinic in Southend we are increasingly treating younger patients. Children, as well as adults, are leading more sedentary lives and many are spending an increasing number of hours hunched in front of computers or over mobile devices. These actions are leading to an increase in back and neck pain in children.

Our chiropractors can’t stress enough how important it is to keep a child’s spine healthy. Maintaining a good posture is an important part of maintaining a healthy spine. The British Chiropractic Association has developed ‘Straighten Up UK’ a simple three minute programme specifically to help with improving posture. It has been developed to be a fun programme that people of all ages can do – a great way to engage your children without the need to nag!

You can view the video below and follow along.

Arif Soomro, one of our chiropractors, has also developed The Back Story programme which is a self help programme designed by age group to set out lifestyle changes that combat the effects of modern day living on our backs.  It starts with Toddles, Under 11s, Teens all the way through to the 80s – you simply click on the relevant age group for the advice.

One of the areas of concerns our chiropractors have is the stress put on children’s spines from carrying bags to and from school. It seems that bags are becoming heavier every year which is why it’s so important that as parents we ensure that bags are fit for purpose and not overloaded.

Backpacks are a good option for carrying, however, they do need to be carried and adjusted properly. The backpack should be carried over both shoulders and adjusted to ensure that the weight is spread evenly across the back and held as closely to the body as possible.

Here is a link to one of our previous blog posts about rucksacks with more information – Back to School Back Health.

At the start of the new term our chiropractors at Cliffs Chiropractic Clinic in Southend wishes all school children a happy and successful school year.

Essential Halloween Safety

child health advice from Cliffs southend chiropractorsThe nights are drawing in, spooky pumpkins are filling up the supermarket shelves and there’s an eerie feeling in the air. Yep, Halloween is on its way; and many of us are already getting the preparations in place to celebrate.

We love Halloween here at Cliffs Chiropractic Clinic – so we’ve come up with a safety check list to ensure you and your family have your best one yet!

Safety on the Road

The traffic will probably be busier at Halloween, so make sure you and your family cross the roads carefully.

Put away any electronic devices and keep your eyes and ears focused on your surroundings.

Educate your children on the importance of making eye contact with drivers before crossing the road in front of them.

Be a good influence by making sure you and your kids always walk on pavements or paths. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings possible.

Trick or Treat Safety

Make sure you or another responsible adult supervise children under the age of 12.  If your kids are old enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar, well-lit areas and always trick or treat in large groups.

Costume Safety

Choose bright coloured costumes and decorate them with reflective tape or stickers.

Encourage your children to use face paint or make up instead of masks. Masks may look impressive, but they can obstruct their vision and place them at risk of injuries.

Give your kids a torch to carry while they’re out trick or treating. This will help them to see more clearly in the dark and be seen by drivers too!

Always try costumes on before Halloween. The last thing you want is you or your kids tripping over an oversized witch’s cape!

Driving Safety

Drive slowly and be mindful that there will be excitable children walking the streets at Halloween.

Enter and exit driveways slowly and carefully.

Take away any distractions from inside your car so that you can fully concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

The most common trick-or-treating hours are between 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially aware of children on the road during that time frame.

The safer you stay, the more fun you’ll have!


Swap the school car run for a walk to school

back care advice fom our southend chiropractorSeptember’s here and parents across the nation will once again be tackling the daily school run. But have you considered swapping your wheels for your legs?

According to our Southend chiropractor, walking is one of the best ways to benefit from exercise without aggravating the structures in the lower back. Not only will you benefit from the exercise but walking provides a whole host of health benefits to your child.  These include:

  • Strengthening the muscles in their feet, legs, hips, and torso. Walking increases the stability of the spine and conditions the muscles that keep the body in the upright position.
  • Nourishing their spinal structures.  Regular walking encourages strong circulation, which helps to deliver vital nutrients into soft tissues.
  • Improving their flexibility and posture. Walking, along with regular stretching, allows greater range of motion, which can help to prevent awkward movements and lower the risk of future injuries.

Why else is walking good for kids?

Here are just a couple more reasons to start walking your child to school:

  • Walking to school from a young age will help them to develop road awareness in time for independent walking as a teenager.
  • Walking is fun and interesting. Your children will get to notice things along the way and meet different people in your local area.
  • Walking helps to improve physical and emotional health and can even boost mood and self esteem levels.

Of course, when you have a busy family life, it can be very tempting to jump in the car to ferry the little ones to school. But swapping just a few of those car journeys for walks will be easier than you think. About a third of all the journeys we undertake are less than a mile, which is only about a 20 minute walk! And the best part is that you won’t have to hunt for a parking space when you get to the school!

Walking is a fantastic activity that you and your children can do together. It’s never too early to start walking your child to school.

What’s stopping you from walking your children to school? After all, there’s nothing more important than the health of your kids

Back to School Back Health

back care advice for children from cliffschiropractorsouthendIt’s back to school and back to backpacks! Many things can lead to back pain in children, such as playing sport or poor posture. But some kids have back pain because of what they’re lugging around in their backpacks everyday!

According to our Southend chiropractor, children should not carry more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their school bags.

Backpacks come in all sizes, colours, fabrics, and shapes and help kids of all ages express their own personal sense of style. However, it is important that the backpack is safe for them.

Here are some other great tips to ensure your child stays safe when carrying their backpack this school term:

Always ensure your child uses both shoulder straps and that they wear the backpack on their back rather than over one shoulder.

Pack the largest and heaviest objects first so that they are carried lower and closest to the body.

Fill available compartments so that the load is evenly distributed throughout the backpack and items do not shift when your child moves around.

Adjust the straps so that the backpack  fits snugly to your child’s body, holding the bottom of the backpack two inches above the waist and keeping the top just below the base of the skull.

Make sure your child lifts their backpack by using their leg muscles and keeping it close to their body, rather than bending over with extended arms.

If your child wears their back pack correctly, the weight will be evenly distributed across their body, and they will be less likely to experience shoulder and neck injuries than if they carry a one shoulder bag. And of course, when they’re used properly, they’re incredibly handy!

By being aware of the advice in this article, you can help to make a big difference to the health of your child’s spine!

Our team of chiropractors at Cliffs Chiropractor Southend are experienced in treating children of all ages. If you have any concerns about your child’s back or spine then our chiropractors are here to help you. You can call us on 01702 430 430 to make an appointment with one of our chiropractors.


Back Pain in Kids and Teens

back care advice for children from our Southend chiropractorWhile back pain is very common for adults, children and teenagers are much more resilient and flexible. However, according to our Southend chiropractor, due predominantly to lifestyle choices, children and teenagers are increasingly falling victim to back pain. This is why at Cliffs our chiropractors are encouraging good spine health and proper posture from a young age.

Back Pain in Younger Children

Because younger children are less likely to put their spine under the same severe stresses as older children and adults, any back problems are usually short lived. Also, younger children tend to self-limit their activities and choose not to repeat painful actions. This helps in their recovery if an episode of back pain does occur.

With this in mind, any persistent back pain in a young child should be taken very seriously.  

Back Pain in Teenagers

Some teens are very active and are often involved in sports or other strenuous hobbies. As with any physical activity, there is always the possibility for a back injury to occur. This risk is even higher for teens who are involved in contact sports, such as rugby, football and martial arts.

On the other end of the scale, there’s the fact that most teenagers these days spend a whopping amount of time hunched over a Smartphone, tablet or computer. Frequent inactivity and poor posture are leading causes of back problems amongst younger generations, especially teenagers. As a parent, you should always treat any kind of back injury in your teenager as a serious concern and seek an accurate diagnosis from a healthcare professional.

There is also a variety of non-physical issues which may cause back pain to develop during the teenager years. The pressures of school and growing up can be overwhelming and may lead to anxiety-induced back pain in a number of young people. Emotional stress can also worsen any existing back pain symptoms.

This type of pain affects many young people, but often the true cause is misdiagnosed.

It is never too early to teach your children the importance of looking after their spines and our chiropractors at Cliffs in Southend really do encourage you to do this. Please visit our ‘Back Story‘ page for more information on proactive ways to keep your children’s backs safe.

Little Callum Makes The News

patient story at cliffs chiropractor southendWe featured Callum in last month’s newsletter. He’s an amazing little seven year old boy and we’re so proud of him. With Arif’s help and support from his loving parents, Callum has been able to overcome his bedwetting.

Callum’s story has hit the news with a feature in a recent edition of The Echo. The article covers Callum’s journey and how Arif has been able to help him. Arif also shares his top tips to cope with bedwetting. Please share this with any parents you know that have a child that may be suffering as the information really can be life changing to them and their parents.

Read Callum’s story and how Arif helped him by clicking here.

Arif’s Top Tips To Cope With Bedwetting

There’s no hard and fast solution to bedwetting, and if chiropractic treatment is not the answer, these tips might help your child and you:

  • Reassure your child. It’s important for them to know they haven’t done anything wrong, and it will get better. Don’t tell them off for wetting the bed, this won’t help and could make matters worse.
  • There’s usually no obvious reason why children wet the bed, but it could be because they produce more urine than the bladder can cope with; have an overactive bladder (where the bladder can only hold a small amount of urine); are deep sleepers, so they don’t react to the signals telling their brain the bladder is full or there’s a family history.
  • Sometimes bedwetting is stress related – if there’s a change in family structure, you’ve moved home or your child is being bullied – try to work on is anxiety before you start a new regime.
  • Bedwetting isn’t something your child can control, so rewards shouldn’t be based on whether they wet the bed or not. You may want to give rewards for things like having plenty of drinks during the day or remembering to have a wee before bed. If your reward scheme isn’t working after about a week, try something else.
  • Make sure your child has easy access to the toilet at night, leave a light on in the bathroom and put a child’s seat on the toilet.
  • Use waterproof covers on your child’s mattress and duvet.
  • A bedwetting alarm is useful once a few dry nights have been achieved. This helps to create awareness at just the right time and trigger a trip to the toilet.

Pupil posture … taking care of your back starts at school

back care advice for children from our cliffs chiropractor southend Is school bad for your health? We all understand the importance of looking after our backs, especially as we get older, but should concern for our posture start even sooner…even at school age?

Arif certainly thinks so, “Over the past four years I’ve been treating more and more cases of back, neck and shoulder pain in children and teenagers and it all seems to start at school.”

“We need to take action to help them now or they will suffer in the long term.”

As a specialist paediatric chiropractor, based here at Cliffs Chiropractor Southend, Arif believes parents and carers need to understand the effect mobile devices, poor school seating and heavy rucksacks is having on the spine.

Read more on this subject in an article by Arif published in The Echo: Pupil Posture … Taking Care Of Your Back Starts At School.



A Great Invention For Parents Suffering From Back Pain!

If you’re a parent who suffers from back pain, you will be all too aware of the gruelling task that is teaching your little one to ride a bike. Walking in a 90 degree angle (it’s not that much of an exaggeration!) while you fervently try to help your child steer, balance and pedal can feel like a back-breaking task. Literally.

Fortunately, there is equipment available to help protect your spine while teaching your child to ride a bicycle.

“Bicycle parent handles”, as they are known, are handles that can be attached to the back of a child’s back to enable parents to help steer, control and balance the bike from a comfortable height.

If you are thinking of teaching your child how to ride, our Southend chiropractor recommends that you invest in a tool such as this – whether you  currently suffer from back pain or not.

Walk to School Month. Are Your Playing Your Part?

back care advice fom our southend chiropractorOctober is Walk to School Month and our team of chiropractors in Southend are fully behind the scheme.

Walking frequently is one of the healthiest things you can do with your family. Amongst a host of others, some of the main benefits of regular walking include:

  • Helping to achieve/ maintain a healthy weight.
  • Helping to prevent or manage serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
  •  Strengthening bones and muscles.
  • Improving  mood.
  • Improving balance and coordination.

If you’re like many parents, the daily school run probably consists of chaos, stress and a desperate attempt to get to the school early enough to battle for a parking space. It’s probably not your favourite time of the day!

But consider the alternative… Calmness. Ease. Enjoying a conversation with your children as you share an early morning autumn stroll.

For some families, walking to school may seem impractical ( especially those who have work commitments), but if you are able to walk your children to school just a couple times a week, you and your little ones will benefit. You’ll probably save a bit on petrol costs too!

Our Southend chiropractor has a few more reasons why you may want to start walking the school run:

1: To boost physical activity

Children need an hour of physical activity every day – and a walk to and from school can make up a chunk of this minimum requirement. As the evenings draw in, walking to school is a fail-safe way to ensure your child gets some physical activity every day.

2: To increase concentration

Many children who are physically active on the way to school are better able to focus in class. You may find that your child starts performing better in school after walking to school for a week or two.

3:  To teach crucial safety skills

Walking your child to and from school is the perfect time to teach them vital road safety skills. What better time to teach them such important skills than during the morning rush when they need them the most?

4:  To further develop your relationship

Sharing a walk with your child is a great way to embark on some good conversation and develop your relationship in a calm and relaxed environment.

5: To help reduce pollution and congestion

When you walk your child to school, you’ll be playing your part in helping to reduce pollution and congestion around schools.

Why not make October a month to take up more walking with your family.


It’s Never Too Early for Good Posture Habits

posture advice for children from Cliffs chiropractor sounthendAs a family chiropractic clinic, we are immensely proud of our reputation for providing chiropractic treatment to children. With the knowledge that’s available now,  our children have a real chance of living their entire lives without the burden of back pain; that’s why it’s so important for good habits to start early.

Arif, one of our leading chiropractors at our Southend clinic, is a Fellow of the International Chiropractic Paediatric Association and has been a Certified Chiropractic Paediatric Practitioner for fourteen years.He has created the following top tips on encouraging a major healthy habit in children – developing and maintaining good posture:

1: Be a Good Example

Demonstrating good posture is the best way to encourage your children to do the same.  Be mindful about how you’re sitting and standing – especially in front of your little ones.

2: Use Positive Reinforcement

Instead of simply telling your child to “sit up straight” when they’re slouching, give them motivating reasons to improve their posture. Tell your child that they look more grown up or taller when they sit up straight, for example. This praise will help your child to want to engage in such positive behaviour.

3: Use Visuals

Young children learn incredibly well through visuals, so try using images to teach your child about good posture. Other creative outlets such as making up a song or putting on a short play can also be really effective in helping your child to develop healthy posture habits.

4: Play Posture-Boosting Games

 There are many games you can play with your child to encourage good posture. The more creative you are the more fun your child will have and the more likely they will be to maintain new positive habits.

“My Fair Lady” is a timeless classic where your child has to walk across the room carrying a book on their head without it falling off. By playing this game, your child will learn how to position their head and neck in the correct way for good posture. Why not join in with the fun and set up a points system where the player who carries the book on their head for the longest amount of time wins a small prize? Your child will think you’re great fun and you’ll probably improve your own posture in the process!

5: Get cycling

Take your children for bike rides regularly. Sitting and balancing on a bike can result in improved posture.

Poor posture is a major cause of back pain. Don’t let your children pick up the bad habits of our generation. By working together, we can give them the chance of reaping the benefits of a lifelong healthy spine.