The future of healthcare lies within preventative measures, not new cures and treatments. But prevention only works those affected can adapt before a medical issue arise. This means that many of the medical issues that adults suffer from, such as lower back pain, the causality needs to be taught from a young age.
Who does the education? Who’s responsible? Both parents and the government are responsible. But neither parents, schools or health authorities are doing enough to educate children in health conditions that develop later in adulthood, due to their lack of action in their youth.
Something as simple as posture should be taught at a very young age. While many parents will educate (or tell off) for poor posture, we commonly see younger people carry heavy bags, such as messenger backs or backpacks over one shoulder. Many of these bags cause unnatural twisting of the spine, promoting a posture that may cause problems as they age. Not only would poor posture cause future pain, but could exasperate other medical conditions, such as depression, digestive problems, circulatory problems and stress, adding further strain to the health service.
More commonly, schools are also letting down their students. Many classrooms are very un-ergonomic. For 5-6 hours of their day, many children sit in static and uncomfortable chairs that, during their crucial period of physical growth, encouraging poor posture all the way into adulthood.
Considering back pain costs the NHS (National Health Service) nearly £500m every year and affects nearly 50% of adults at some point, many of the cases could have been prevented with proper education. Whether it’s a direct result (such as poor posture leading to back pain) or an indirect one, such as depression, intervention at an early age could save money and save the patient from suffering.
Education doesn’t just involve the child, but also the parents. Parent’s need to know how the body responds to the pressures and demands that we put on it. Then they need to pass this information onto the child. Schools also need to teach them this, but also give the children the ergonomic environment to practice this.
While the cost of providing upfront education may be larger than the government wants to spend, but prevention will reduce costs in the future, at a time when health budgets are continuing to soar.
We cover all the subspecialty areas of orthopaedics
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