Tension-related headaches and neck pain in young children

Published on 18/05/2017

By Physiotherapist Hannah Harboe

The number of children referred for physiotherapy is on the rise, and often because more and more suffer from tension-related headaches and neck pains.

The problems arise as a result of physical inactivity and excessive use of tablets, smartphones and laptop computers.

When a child sits with head bowed at an angle equivalent to 30 degrees, the neck has to bear a load equivalent to 18 kg. If the angle is 60 degrees, the load increases to 27 kg.

Many children often sit with their tablet on their lap, which causes them to angle their heads at the equivalent of 60 degrees.

When maintaining that position for an extended period, the neck muscles are simply overloaded. They become tense, and stay in their tensed position, which in time can cause tension-related headaches and neck pains.

Doing exercises to strengthen the neck and retract over-extended muscles can be difficult. Small children in particular need considerable motivation for specific and repetitive exercises.
 
When we walk around with an object on our heads, we automatically tuck in our chins and resemble a swan - at least as far as our necks are concerned. To avoid losing the ‘hat’, the head also has to be kept level. This position is healthy and strengthens the neck muscles.
 
Exercising with products such as the Clown’s Hat gives training an element of play, inspiring and motivating children.

A wide range of early years physical activity, co-ordination and balance products are available in our catalogue.

This article has been provided courtesy of Gonge. © Gonge Creative Learning ApS 2017.

Please click here to download a printable version which also includes a case study.
 

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ERA 2017
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Youth Sport Trust