When one spends copious amount of time in front of text books or computers, one unknowingly sits in poor postures. One generally alternates between slouching over the desk, sometimes curling the whole body into the chair or sinking into the seat. In the process, the spine turns into jelly. And this certainly does not help in maintaining a good posture, at least in the long term.
"Sitting in the same posture or incorrect postures for long hours may cause acute backaches," warned Dr PK Dave, head, orthopaedics department at Rockland Hospital and former AIIMS director.
"It is important that one sits correctly. It is advised that the child takes short 10 minute breaks every two hours, so that he can stretch himself and relax before getting back to study again."
A good posture enables one to breathe properly, which is why the stress on correct sitting in meditation, pilates or yoga. Good breathing means good intake of oxygen. More oxygen, equates to more brain food, which in turn leads to better memory and thinking power.
"A good posture means maintaining the three natural curves on the back-on the neck, the dorsal area and the lumbar spine. The posture is maintained by discs, the vertebral column, ligaments and muscles," said Dr KL Kalra, senior consultant, spine surgery at Sir Gangaram Hospital.
"If one does not sit properly, then he over stretches the ligaments, muscles causing them to lose elasticity and hence becoming painful. This faulty posture puts lots of pressure on joints and discs which degenerates and causes acute pain and numbness," he said.
Similarly, lying on the bed and studying may sound tempting, but experts warn that the position is very bad both for the eyes as well for the neck. One tends to feel sleepy, loses concentration and even the eyes are often under tremendous load because of proper light and little distance from the reading material. Orthopaedics say it is best to avoid reading while lying on your back, stomach or side. "A lot of children have a tendency to sit on the bed while studying.
In other times, they sit in a cross-legged position, where they tend to slouch. This posture is not only harmful for the back but also tires the child more easily," warned Dr Bipin Walia, senior consultant, neuro-spine surgeon at Max Healthcare, Saket.
"A child should always use a table and chair while studying, which should be ergonomic. The two heights should be adjusted such that the child does not have
to bend forward or incline backwards," said Dr Walia, emphasizing on the need for the chair to have good back and lumbar support.
Doctors also advise that the child should either tilt the book so that it is raised up about 45 degrees from the desk or use an architect's desk, which has a slight slope. This positioning aids in achieving good posture and reducing eyes and neck strain.