Remote learning’s physical toll on children — NJ orthopedic surgeon
Remote learning has, without a doubt, taken a toll on children's bodies. Dr. Rahul Shah, orthopedic, neck and spine surgeon in South Jersey, said he's seen an uptick in injuries and pain stemming from children sitting too long or incorrectly.
Typically, learning-related injuries come from carrying heavy backpacks. But most of the latest problems include irritated wrists, carpal tunnel syndrome and neck, back and shoulder pain, with his practice getting at least one or two such cases a week.
He said these children are not being seen on a hospital or surgical level but more on a rehabilitative level.
"The good news is when we're giving people little life hacks like change the position of your monitor, or make sure you prop up your elbows, or make sure that you continue to take breaks every so often. When we start to see more of that happening, we are seeing that they are responding well and their symptoms are starting to go away," Shah said.
One tip to improve children' posture, alleviate neck, wrist and shoulder pain is to simply get up and go for a walk. Shah said by being able to get the blood flowing throughout the body, all the muscles tend to adapt better to any stressful situation.
Because children are not moving a lot at home, they are not taking part in the formalized changing of the classes or gym, it's imperative they move around.
Group activities can't be introduced during the pandemic, said Shah. But walking, going for a bike ride or even a run may help loosen up tight muscles.
Children should take breaks every 20 minutes or so. Also be sure that the wrists and shoulders are not bent too much or resting on the computer.
Do not work on a couch or a bed if avoidable. This will inevitably lead to slouching, which can lead to back pain and sore muscles. If possible, children should do their work on a hard surface, such as a kitchen table or counter.