Chiropractic protects virtual school kids by maintaining proper posture and keeping their joints and muscles healthy.
As technology advances, new educational opportunities emerge. Instead of finding themselves seated in a traditional classroom inside a brick and mortar school, millions of students now receive a majority of their learning in the privacy of their own home. Some attend virtual classes. Others participate in off-campus education through websites and e-books. Many students have the ability to set their own pace for each class, enabling them to take a longer or shorter amount of time depending upon their schedules.
Distance learning is convenient and offers numerous advantages. However, there is a flip side of the coin. Instead of getting up to change classrooms, kids are sitting for prolonged periods in front of a desktop, tablet, or laptop. Instead of walking several times a day to their locker or cubby to retrieve items, most virtual school students keep most of what they need in convenient nearby locations. Instead of standing and moving during art class or science labs, many projects can be done on the computer. Also missing are recess and physical education classes. Students who learn off campus can miss out on the social interaction of attending Spanish club, photography club, school newspaper and yearbook.
There are some health concerns to be aware of with distance learning such as:
Poor posture. It’s difficult to maintain proper posture for hours when sitting in front of a computer. The body has a tendency to slip out of proper posture. The shoulders often shift too far forward. When using a computer mouse, the elbow and wrist being used can tire. This sometimes causes the elbow to rest against the arm of the chair or the wrist to be bent or flexed at an uncomfortable angle for too long. Poor posture can cause muscle fatigue and stiffness.
Neck pain. Muscle and joint irritation can happen when the neck is angled too far forward for an extended period of time. Without being aware of it, the body will recruit other nearby muscles to assist the body’s postural muscles that have become too weary to maintain proper posture.
Tension headaches. Muscles in the neck and upper back can become sore and painful due to the head and neck being angled too far forward. This causes tension and irritation of the suboccipital muscles at the base of the head. If the position of the head isn’t changed, a tension headache can result.
Eye strain. Staring at a computer screen for prolonged periods of time without giving the eyes a break can strain the tiny muscles of the eye and face. Normally, the human eye continually shifts its attention on all matter of objects. It will track a nearby glass of water, then shift to track a book shelf, then shift again to track the tree line outside the window. This is done regularly, without conscious thought. Gazing at a digital display for hours without interruption over-uses the set of eye muscles designed for near-vision. This can harm the eyes and start a headache.
Low back pain. While seated in an office chair, the feet should remain flat on the floor. Some students cross their legs. Others aren’t tall enough to reach the floor. This is when chair height becomes very important. Some students start out with proper posture but begin to slouch after a certain duration of time. It isn’t uncommon for people to shift their body weight from one hip to another during their online study session. This can cause low back and hip irritation and can also contribute to pain down one or both legs.
Muscle stiffness. When a student remains in one place for too long, not getting up to change classes or walk across campus, the muscles have reduced blood and oxygen flow. This is why it is important to imitate changing classes that would be done in a traditional brick-and-mortar school by having the student get up between classes.
Difficulty sleeping at night. The combination of the above health concerns can negatively impact a student’s sleep cycle. Some students have difficulty finding a comfortable position in bed due to muscle stiffness or back and neck pain. Other students haven’t remained sufficiently active during the day and don’t feel tired enough at the proper sleep time to drift off to sleep. They fall asleep too late and don’t receive an adequate amount of sleep. Then they have trouble waking up and getting started the next day.
Fortunately, there is help for virtual school and distance learning students with chiropractic. Our chiropractors provide treatment for a number of off-campus learning and virtual school students. One big advantage of a student receiving routine chiropractic adjustments is that their posture will be assessed regularly. When a student does not have symmetrical posture, or their neck and shoulders are found to be angled too far forward from time spent on a tablet or computer, the chiropractor will create a wellness plan for returning their skeleton to normal posture. After proper posture has been reestablished, their body’s efficiency will greatly improve. They won’t tire as easily.
Special attention can be given to the neck and shoulder area. This is because this generation tends to spend more time indoors with technology than outside climbing trees and enjoying nature. When sitting in front of a computer, tablet, or phone, the body tends to draw the object to itself. The student’s neck, upper back, and shoulders will all move forward to interact with the electronic device. The more hours spent engaged with technology, the more consideration is required to correct this negative change in posture. Chiropractors who are experienced and skilled with working on kids and adolescent students understand how to gently realign the skeleton. This can reverse the adverse effects of poor posture.
Students who schedule routine visits with their chiropractor often experience better sleep as a result. This is because their muscles are more relaxed and their joints remain flexible. This enables them to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more restfully.
Virtual school is a fantastic way for students to learn from home at their own pace. Coupled with chiropractic treatment and planned physical activity, distance learning is a great educational option.