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Shot of a focused young little boy browsing on a digital tablet and wearing headphones while relaxing on the couch at home

Fix Your Posture, Fix Your Pain

By: John Knaul, MS, LAT, ATC, CHKD Sports Medicine

Chronic neck and shoulder pain. Tension headaches.

If your child has these symptoms, they could be caused by poor posture.

Poor posture among children and adults is generally a learned behavior from our daily activities. A person with poor posture will present with their head held forward (ears in front of shoulders) or their shoulders rounded. They also may sit in a slumped forward position.

You can probably blame technology. Today’s most common causes of neck and shoulder pain are improper computer height in relation to sitting height and looking down at our mobile devices. Maintaining this position for a prolonged period of time will cause tightness in the front of the shoulders while straining the muscles in the back of this region. It can also contribute to a forward head posture, which will cause tightness at the base of the skull. This can sometimes cause trigger points (localized spasms) in these muscles.

Treatment must include changes in habits or positioning. One way to do this is to bring your phone up in front of your face, instead of bending your neck to look down. Additional treatment includes manual therapy, stretching, and strengthening. Stretching the tight muscles in the front of the shoulders, and strengthening the muscles in the upper back can help improve posture. Strength and endurance of the stabilizing muscles of the neck may also need to be addressed.

If your child has been complaining of neck or shoulder pain, call 757-668-PLAY (7529) to schedule an appointment with one of CHKD’s sports medicine physicians. They can evaluate your child, and provide a referral to physical therapy if necessary for treatment.

About CHKD Sports Medicine

About CHKD Sports Medicine  CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.