At least 70 percent of America’s 30 million elementary school students use computers, according to a recent New York Times article. As a result of this increased usage, doctors of chiropractic are treating more young patients suffering from the effects of working at computer stations that are either designed for adults or poorly designed for children. Many children are already suffering from repetitive motion injuries (RMI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic pain in the hands, back, neck and shoulders.
A recently published study conducted by a team of researchers from Cornell University found that 40 percent of the elementary school children they studied used computer workstations that put them at postural risk. The remaining 60 percent scored in a range indicating “some concern.”
“Emphasis needs to be placed on teaching children how to properly use computer workstations,” stated Dr. Scott Bautch, past president of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Occupational Health. “Poor work habits and computer workstations that don’t fit a child’s body during the developing years can have harmful physical effects that can last a lifetime. Parents need to be just as concerned about their children’s interaction with their computer workstations as they are with any activities that may affect their children’s long-term health,” added Dr. Bautch.
What can you do?
To reduce the possibility of your child suffering painful and possibly disabling injuries, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and its Council on Occupational Health offer the following tips:
Urge your child’s school or PTA officials to provide education on correct computer ergonomics and to install ergonomically correct workstations.
“If your child continues to complain of pain and strain from sitting at a computer, see a doctor of chiropractic,” urges Dr. Bautch. “A chiropractor can help alleviate your child’s pain and help prevent further injury.”