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Biokineticist Sheryl Abels explains why children should use an ergonomically designed desk and chair.

It’s little wonder our children are beginning to suffer from neck pain and tension headaches. Consider the long hours they spend slumped over the desk doing homework and studying. Then, there’s all those heavy textbooks they carry around in their school bags.

Sitting at a workstation or desk with unsatisfactory ergonomics compounds these factors, creating a growing problem of poor posture, back and neck pain, headaches and spinal conditions. These can lead to long-term difficulties affecting academic progress and results.

More on how to help your child achieve perfect posture.

training the body

Our bodies are designed to do what we teach them to do via repetition – training them. Unfortunately, children  inadvertently ‘train’ their bodies in a negative pattern. This can lead to weak upper back muscles and tight chest muscles, resulting in rounded shoulders. The neck also adjusts to repetitive looking down and forward, making neck muscles tight in the front, and weak and elongated in the back. Again, this contributes to a negative posture, with possible long-term consequences. When the weak muscles cannot cope with the strain placed on them, it can lead to knots and tension in the neck and upper back muscles. The result is discomfort and pain, and often tension headaches.

Read our article on sitting correctly.

getting to the bottom of it

How can we stop poor seating positions from affecting children throughout their schooling careers, university and even into the workplace? We can treat the symptoms, strengthen the muscles and improve posture, thereby removing the pain and discomfort. But a better solution is to prevent it in the first place. While this may be complex, the best results seem to come from a multi-disciplinary approach. Firstly, core strengthening exercises thatcan easily be obtained from a biokineticist. Secondly, regular assessments, spinal correction and treatments from your chiropractor. Lastly, an ergonomically designed and produced desk and chair for workstations. International research has shown that these corrections in study and work environments make a significant difference, and there is an improvement in the spinal conditions that children complained about.


There are a few products that are ergonomically designed by experienced chiropractors, biokineticists, learning specialists and occupational therapists to improve the posture of children as they are working in the classroom or studying at home. These can help improve productivity, as children are better able to concentrate because of the more comfortable working conditions, hopefully leading to better marks and happier, healthier children.

Child Magazine