• 2 Simple Tests to Check Your Child’s Posture and What Good Posture Actually Means

    January 20, 2019 | By Tony Yong

    Many of us have been told by our physiotherapists, doctors, or even grandmothers the importance of having good posture. It’s true, posture plays an important role in preventing and managing neck and back pain and is a cornerstone to recovering from a wide variety of injuries.

    What is Good Posture?

    Posture is an often misunderstood concept—it is important to know that the best posture is dynamic. What this means is we should be able to:

    • Move in and out of positions at will,
    • Stretch, and change from sitting to standing frequently throughout the day.

    Any one position that is held for extended periods of time, regardless of whether we hold ourselves like dancers or gorillas, can cause tightness and pain. After all, just as many (if not more!) dancers get back and neck pain as compared to the general population.

    It’s easy to forget about how important good posture is for our kids. Prolonged poor postures in children have become even more prevalent over the last number of years. Time spent sitting for long periods has increased; everything from playing video or computer games to watching TV. And let’s not forget about the significant increase of phone usage which results in text neck – read more here. 

    A child’s typical sitting, standing, and walking postures can be a window into potential areas of weakness and muscle imbalance, which could contribute to potential injuries in the future.

    How to Assess Good Posture in Your Child

    We’ve outlined a few posture characteristics that you can look for in your kids that might indicate imbalances.

    These characteristics should typically be visible when your child is standing, and indicate good posture:

    • Shoulders and hips are level and head is straight
    • Spaces between arms on each side are equal
    • Kneecaps are level and face straight forward
    • Feet are pointing slightly outward and are symmetrical on both sides

    And from a side view:

    • Head is upright and not slumping forward; chin is parallel to the floor
    • Shoulders are not rounded forward and are in line with ears
    • Low back has a slightly forward curve but not so exaggerated that the stomach protrudes forward

    In the next section we talk about two quick quick and easy tests to help you assess your child’s posture at home.

    2 Simple Self-Tests for Evaluating Posture

    Here are two great tests that you can do with your kids to assess their posture. You only need a wall for these tests and they’re quick and easy to perform.

    The Standing Wall TestStanding Wall Test for Child's Posture

    1. Have your child stand with feet 6 inches from the wall.
    2. Head, shoulders and buttocks should be touching the wall.
    3. Using a hand, check the distance between your child’s low back and the wall as well as between their neck and wall.
    4. This is a good position to evaluate the above “imbalance” characteristics in. As well, when your child’s trunk is relaxed, they should have approximately a 1-inch gap between the neck or back and the wall.

    The Snow Angel

    1. Have your child stand with feet 6 inches from the wall.
    2. Head, shoulders and buttocks should be touching the wall.
    3. Have them place their forearms flat against the wall with palms facing forward.
    4. Have them try to raise both arms overhead (like making a snow angel) while keeping their forearms against the wall.
    5. If they are unable to raise their arms all the way overhead, this can be an indicator of several things: shoulder, pectoral muscle and mid-back tightness, or even neural tension.

    What Next?

    If you discover some signs of imbalances from these tests, or if your child is complaining of pain or tightness, it may be worth seeing a physiotherapist to have an assessment done and to explore whether a home exercise program may help optimize your child’s body mechanics.

    Looking for a skilled Physiotherapist in the Edmonton area? Book an appointment with one of Innovation Physical Therapy’s experienced physiotherapists by calling one of our 6 clinics located throughout Edmonton and Sherwood Park including Riverbend, Meadowlark, Belvedere, Namao, Sherwood Park or our newest clinic in West Henday.