Mind your posture
Children are also at risk to suffer from back aches thanks to bad posture, which can cause long-term damage.
When a child complains of backaches, parents are likely to wave it off as "growing pains" or put the blame on heavy schoolbags, but a Dubai-based doctor says that there is more to this issue.
Dr Kirti Mohan Marya, a Dubai-based Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon, and his team of five physiotherapists recently conducted a study to find out its potential causes.
The study revealed that 287 out of 317 children across grade two to 10 in a Dubai school suffered from different levels of tightness in the hamstring muscles. These aches are triggered by poor posture, which causes overall body aches, notably back pain.
"It is now well-recognised that children with back pain have more chances of becoming adults with chronic back pain. As it is an easily preventable disorder, the evaluation of hamstring muscle tightness in kids by treating physicians could reduce the chances of back-related problems among UAE schoolchildren," said Dr Marya, who specialises in non-operative management of Sport Injuries and joint problems.
This could also help improve quality of their life and improve athletic performance, while reducing related muscle and ligament injury problems in the future.
But for this to take place, both parents and children need to be proactive and step forward for diagnosis as early as possible, and exercise precaution accordingly.
"We should focus more on the amount of time kids spend on electronic gadgets and devices. We need to reduce its usage to a bare minimum while promoting physical activity and sports. Children who have sudden growth spurts are prone to significant problems if not treated early," Dr Marya added.
A visit to an Orthopaedic Surgeon or Physiotherapist for a simple assessment can pave way for solutions. Children can then adopt specific stretching exercises to perform regularly in order to prevent and treat back pain as well as leg pain and related problems.
School authorities can also initiate simple hamstring stretches during physical training in schools or assemblies to promote better health.
"Parents should encourage kids to stretch their knees and take part in more sport and physical activities. Coaches and trainers should also make it a point to specifically help kids stretch their hamstrings as a warm-up prior to sport activities," he said.
Children, in particular, should remember to sit upright, support their lower back region at all times, and do regular back and leg stretches.