Teen-agers face lots of problems--social, academic, familial. The last thing they need is to add physical stress to the list. Everyday tensions aggravated by carrying loaded book bags or slumping in front of a computer can cause headaches as well as neck and back pain, fatigue, general malaise and even radiating pain in the arms or numb hands.
Sally Ho, a Los Angeles physical therapist who works with teen-agers and adults plagued with muscular-skeletal pain, offers these tips for reducing the physical component of stress:
When wearing a backpack, carry something in front of you to distribute the weight evenly.
Stand and sit tall, but not "military hyper-stiff." Slouching misaligns your head and neck.
Take breaks to stretch and walk around every half-hour or so when studying.
Check your computer setup: Your feet should touch the floor; the chair should support your back; your elbows should rest at 90-degree angles, and the screen should be at eye level.
Sleep on your back or side. Sleeping on your stomach creates tension in the neck.
Rebecca Andreas of Lee Vining High School is believed to be the first female football player voted to an all-league first team in the CIF Southern Section.