02/13/2023 by Dr. Goldi Jacques-Maynes
Posture & Pain: The Impact on Teen Health
When your teen is in pain, their overall quality of life really suffers:
- School is more difficult. Chronic pain Makes it hard to focus in school. Teens with neck or back pain often struggle to pay attention because of constant discomfort.
- They can't move freely. Pain makes it harder to do physical activities. Inactivity can cause a decline in their physical health, as well as their mental well-being.
- They can't participate socially. Because they are in pain, they miss out on opportunities to connect with friends and family, or to participate in fun activities.
Neck and back pain can really cause a teenager to feel frustrated, isolated, and limited.
Healthy posture is critical for developing teens.
Maintaining your teen's spinal and nervous system health sets them up for a more enjoyable, less painful life. Chiropractic helps with both prevention and treatment of teen neck and back pain by supporting healthy posture.
During their teen years, your child’s bones and joints experience rapid growth, leading to increased height and body weight. Their muscles and tendons also grow and become stronger during this developmental stage. Maintaining healthy posture during this stage of growth helps avoid quite a few health issues going forward.
Poor posture over a lifetime can have serious consequences on your teen’s health and well-being. Poor posture often leads to more serious conditions, like:
- Chronic pain. Poor posture can put excessive strain on their neck, back, and joints, leading to chronic pain
- Reduced mobility. Over time, poor posture can lead to limited range of motion and decreased flexibility
- Breathing difficulties. Poor posture can affect the alignment of their spine, neck and chest, which can make breathing more difficult
- Increased risk of injury. Poor posture can put them at a higher risk for falls and other injuries
- Development of chronic conditions. Poor posture can increase the risk of developing chronic conditions such as arthritis, disc problems, and nerve impingements
- Poor self-esteem. Poor posture can also have a negative impact on their self-esteem and confidence
It's important to maintain good posture from the beginning to avoid chronic conditions and promote overall health.
What causes neck and back pain in teenagers?
These are just a few of the causes we see in our office:
- Old mattresses. Due to the lack of support they provide, old mattresses lead to misalignment while sleeping. This can lead to discomfort, pain, and potential long-term damage to the musculoskeletal system
- Sports injuries. Falls, hits, and forced twists put strain and pressure on teens’ muscles, bones, and joints
- Poor posture. Slouching or hunching over a desk or device places strain on the neck and back muscles, leading to pain. This repeated stress can lead to chronic discomfort and eventually damage their spine.
- Scoliosis. Their spine curves to one side, causing imbalances in their musculoskeletal system. This can cause pain as the unnatural curvature puts extra stress on their neck and back.
- Breast development. A sudden increase in breast size can cause an imbalance in a teen’s posture, leading to neck and back pain due to strain on the spine and supporting muscles.
- Growing pains. When the body grows rapidly and the muscles and bones are unable to keep up, teens can feel discomfort and pain in their neck and back.
- Old backpacks. An old or heavy backpack that is not properly adjusted to a teen's body can cause strain on their neck and back muscles. Improperly carrying a backpack can also put pressure on their spine, leading to long-term posture problems and back pain.
- Excessive screen time. Device use leads to poor posture and prolonged periods of muscle and tissue strain. Constantly looking down at a screen causes tension, pain, discomfort, and possible long term damage.
Choose non-invasive treatments to support healthy spine development in teens.
Chiropractic care treats neck and back pain in teenagers without using drugs or surgery. By performing adjustments to realign the spine, and/or soft tissue release to reduce tension, we strive to treat the root cause of your teen's pain.
We also prescribe postural exercises that target the specific imbalances causing the pain. These exercises help relax tightened muscles and strengthen overused/overstressed tissues.
How do we diagnose the root cause of your teen’s neck and back pain?
The first step is for you and your teen to talk to us about their overall health and lifestyle. We will also do an exam to see how their body is moving and working. We may also do some tests to see how well their hips, muscles, and nerves are working. If we determine a need for imaging, we may suggest getting an X-ray or MRI.
How long until my teen’s neck and back pain goes away with chiropractic care?
How long does it take to relieve back or neck pain in your teenager? The answer depends on why they are having the pain and how bad it is. Is it upper back pain, lower back pain, or middle back pain? Is your teenager having text neck symptoms?
Some teens feel better after only a few visits with us, while others may need more time and more treatment. It depends on their diagnosed condition, and their overall health.
We'll be able to give you and your teen a better idea of how long it will take after we examine them and figure out what's causing their pain.
Is your teenager suffering from neck or back pain?
Chiropractic can provide relief.
We see many teens in our Aptos clinic. If your teen is in pain, or you’re worried about their posture, schedule an appointment with us online to get relief and prevent more serious problems in the future. We can work together on a plan to improve your teen’s posture and encourage healthier habits.