Whether it’s a laptop, tablet or mobile phone, we have more access to information and social networks than ever before. Unfortunately this is causing issues for the younger generation via increased neck and back pain.
In a recent study conducted by British Chiropractic Association (BCA), there has been a drastic rise in teens (11 to 16 years olds) using technology and having corresponding neck and back pain. The research revealed that almost three quarters (68%) of teens spend between one and four hours a day on a laptop, tablet or computer and a staggering 73% spend between one and six hours on the devices. More than a third (38%) of parents said their child spends between one and six hours a day on their mobile phone.
This means that teens are spending more time in a sedentary, hunched lifestyle than leading an active lifestyle. They tend to sit hunched while they utilise technology which means they are putting strain on their neck and back. If teens are not taught how to sit properly and encouraged to be more active, this could lead to chronic back and neck problems later in life.
The BCA offers the following top tips for parents to help their teenagers reduce the risks of back and neck pain:
- Get your kids moving: The fitter children are, the more their backs can withstand periods of sitting still. To increase fitness levels, your child should be more active which can be achieved by doing activities including walking to school, riding a bike or going for a run.
- Teach them how to sit: It’s important that children learn the correct way to sit when they’re using a computer. Teach them to keep their arms relaxed and close to their body and place arms on the desk when typing. Make sure the top of the screen is level with the eyebrows and the chair is titled slightly forward, allowing for the knees to be lower than the hips and the feet to be flat on the floor. Using a laptop or tablet away from a desk will encourage poor posture, so limit time spent in this way.
- Don’t sit still for too long: Make sure children take a break from the position they’re sitting in on a regular basis and stretch their arms, shrug their shoulders and move their fingers around – this helps to keep the muscles more relaxed.
- Lead by example: Maintaining good posture and promoting good back health is something that everyone should be doing, adults and children alike. If you make it a priority, it’s easier for your children to see the relevance.
- Seek medical advice: Seek professional advice if your child is experiencing pain which has lasted for more than a few days. If your child wants to be more active, check that there are no medical reasons why they should not exercise, particularly if they are not normally physically active.
If your teen or you is having back and neck pain, it is important to see an expert as soon as possible to tackle the problem before it becomes worse. Our chiropractic team can help. Contact us today to find out more.