Back to School: Chiropractic Tips for Healthy Screen Use

As a chiropractor, I understand the importance of maintaining good posture and overall spinal health, especially in today’s digital age. As your children prepare to go back to school, it’s essential to address the potential challenges that prolonged screen use can pose to our well-being. Here are some chiropractic tips for healthy screen use as they embark on this new academic year:

Ergonomic setup:
    1. Sit up straight. The foundation of good posture starts with your seating position. When using an ipad, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your back aligned against the chair or couch backrest to support your spine’s natural curves.
    2. Use a stand or holder. To avoid hunching over an ipad, consider using a stand or holder that props up your device at eye level. This reduces the strain on your neck and prevents you from looking down for extended periods.
    3. Adjust screen angle. If you’re unable to use a stand or holder, adjust the angle of your ipad to minimize the need to tilt your head forward or downward. Ensure the screen is at eye level so that your gaze is straight ahead.
    4. Mind your neck and shoulders. Pay attention to your neck and shoulder positioning. Avoid craning your neck forward or rounding your shoulders. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down while maintaining a neutral head position.
    5. Use proper hand support. When holding your ipad, support it with both hands to distribute the weight evenly. Avoid gripping your ipad tightly, as this can lead to tension in your arms, shoulders and neck.
    6. Maintain a healthy screen distance. Keep your ipad at a comfortable distance from your eyes to reduce eye strain. Ideally, it should be around 16-8 inches away from your face.
    7. Alternate positions. Change your sitting position periodically to prevent stiffness and discomfort. Consider sitting cross-legged, using a cushion, or sitting on an exercise ball to engage your core muscles.
    8. Proper workstation setup for computers. Your chair should support your lower back, and your monitor should be at eye level to reduce neck strain. A well-organized workspace can go a long way in preventing musculoskeletal issues.
Regular Breaks

Sitting for extended periods can lead to stiffness and discomfort. Set a timer to remind yourself to take short breaks. During these breaks, stand up, stretch your arms, roll your shoulders, and perform gentle neck stretches. This helps relieve tension and improves blood circulation.

Mindful Screen Time:

Avoid the temptation of spending excessive hours on screens outside of school-related activities. Be mindful of how you use your devices. Limit recreational screen time and prioritize physical activities, reading, and face-to-face interactions with friends and family.

Health Considerations:

Excessive screen time can have adverse effects on physical and mental health. Prolonged screen use can lead to eye strain, disrupted sleep patterns, musculoskeletal complaints such as neck and back pain, and increased sedentary behaviour. To mitigate some of these risks, encourage students to take regular breaks, practice the 20-20-20 rule (look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes), and establish a screen-free bedtime routine.

Regular Chiropractic Check-ups

Consider scheduling regular chiropractic check-ups to ensure that your spine is in good health. Chiropractors can provide adjustments to address any misalignments or discomfort caused by poor posture and screen use.

Exercise and Stretching

Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to strengthen your core muscles, which support your spine. Additionally, perform daily stretches to improve flexibility and reduce tension in your neck, shoulders, and back.

Hydration and Nutrition

Proper hydration and nutrition play a role in your overall musculoskeletal health. Drink water regularly, maintain a balanced diet, and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.

Communication with your Children

Parents, encourage open communication with your children about their screen use habits. Discuss the importance of moderation and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Set screen time limits and encourage breaks.

Remember, a healthy spine contributes to overall well-being. By implementing these tips for healthy screen use, you can minimize the potential negative effects of prolonged screen time and enjoy a successful and pain-free school year. Your chiropractors here at Mint Integrative Health are here to support your journey to optimal spinal health, so don’t hesitate to seek guidance when needed. Wishing you a fantastic and pain-free school year ahead!

Dr Giselle Chamberlain BSc, DC