With GCSEs and A levels just around the corner, exam season is nearly here. But are today’s teenagers more stressed than ever before? One chiropractic clinic – Luck’s Yard in Milford Surrey – thinks they are. Tone Tellefsen Hughes, Chiropractor and owner of the Clinic, is providing advice and treatment for more and more teenagers who are coming up to GCSEs and A levels and need help with muscular pain in the shoulder and back – a common symptom of stress.

Elizabeth is 16 and lives in Surrey. About a year ago, she started getting pain in her shoulders which got worse when she was working long hours at the computer. It got to the point where she had to stop working altogether and sit with a hot water bottle on her shoulder and back. She decided to seek help at Luck’s Yard.

Elizabeth says:

“I found that as I started to spend longer hours on my computer studying for exams and doing controlled assessments, I was less active and I started to get really stiff muscles in my shoulders and back. Once I started treatment with my chiropractor, it became clear that my problems were caused by posture and hunching over my computer too much. The treatment I have had has really helped to relieve the tension that I had before and I find I can concentrate better now that I am not preoccupied with the muscular pain I had before.”

Tone Tellefsen Hughes, owner of Luck’s Yard clinic said:

“Over the past twenty years, I have treated many teenagers suffering from muscular pain caused by bad posture and stress. The symptoms worsen usually around exam season and are exacerbated by long hours of revision and working at the computer on controlled assessments.

“It is important not to sit at your computer for too long but to get and stretch every 30-40 minutes or so. Use an egg timer or your mobile phone to set up a reminder for this.
Chiropractic treatment can be really effective for relieving muscular symptoms relating to stress.

“My advice and treatment tips for stressed teenagers would be to:
• Make sure you have a good work station set-up for your studying.
• The chair needs to be adjustable, supportive in the lower back and come under the desk, ensuring that you are encouraged to sit upright. It needs to be the right height for you. The worst study posture is when you sit hunched up in bed or on a low sofa.
• The computer screen should be in front of you and at eye level. If it is too low, put it on a box or a copy of the Yellow Pages.
• Make sure you have good lighting and use glasses if you have prescription lenses.
• If you work on a lap-top, I would suggest that you get a docking station and external key-board and a mouse. These are not expensive, but will encourage a good study posture.
• It is even more important to exercise during exam periods and even a quick walk, swim or run for 30 minutes will help relax the muscles and clear the mind.
• Make sure you get enough sleep, and try using a shaped neck pillow for comfort.
• Nutritionally, it is really helpful to eat three meals a day and make sure you have a snack in between and hydrate with water. The worst thing you can do could be to drink too many caffeinated energy drinks, as they may affect your sleep

For more information check out our Facebook page as we have several exercise pod-casts which can be downloaded and used for stretches when you need a break. At Luck’s Yard we offer a specially tailored exercise and stretch programmes which can help to strengthen your posture and core stability.