Computer Games Causing Back Pain In Children!

Computer Games Causing Back Pain In Children!

Are Computer games responsible for increased back pain cases among the nation’s teenagers? The problem of low back and neck pain in teenagers is likely to increase significantly in years to come.

This seems on the cards considering the associated health problems of obesity, reduced levels of activity, and the popularity of passive entertainment systems such as play stations that encourage further inactivity and prolonged sitting posture in the adolescent age group.

Terry O’Brien of Back Trouble UK says “While 80 percent of the population are likely to experience low back pain at some stage in their life, there is a worrying trend in the amount of back pain experienced by teenagers.

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It is well founded that having another family member with a history of back pain means you are more likely to develop back pain as an adolescent. As does poor family functioning and increased life stress.

Higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression are also associated with adolescent back pain. Back pain is commonly provoked by sporting activity and static postures such as sitting. It is also known that specific sporting groups such as rowers are at higher risk of back pain.

Children seem to fall into two broad groups, those doing very little activity and those doing too much. Both groups are prone to back pain. However it is the worrying trend of inactivity amongst adolescents that is the greatest cause for concern. Fuelled by the dramatic increase in computer games and multi-media consoles.”

Advice:

We’ve all felt neck or back pain at one point or another, especially those of us who spend a lot of time in front of a computer. Sitting puts stress the back and neck and the longer you sit, the more strain you place on yourself. With back and neck pain it is important to know that the torso is a system of interrelated parts, and symptoms in the arms, legs, head, and chest such as tingling, sharp pains, burning, spasm, vague aches, soreness, lack of muscle strength, and stiffness are all possible indicators of back or neck problems.

Neck Pain often begins gradually as a result of fixed staring at a small area or glancing repeatedly from one to another (from the screen to a document on your desk for example). If the head is held at an angle greater than 15 degrees (for example holding the phone between your neck or shoulder, or looking down at your keyboard) will cause greater muscular fatigue and pain will become apparent more rapidly.

Prevention
Be sure you have a proper workstation set-up.
Take active breaks, move around and do a few stretches.
Shift positions every now and then. Try not to fall habitually into one computer position – even small changes help avoid overtaxing certain muscles.
Use a headset for your phone – crooking a phone between your shoulder and cheek is one of the worst things you can do to your neck.
Use a document stand so you aren’t constantly looking down while you are typing. Position it at the same height as your monitor, and close to one side.

Back Pain
Sitting is one of the hardest positions in which to maintain proper posture, and many computer users regularly feel back pain. Spinal compression is one of the most common problems because sitting tends to tilt the pelvis backward, flattening the lumbar curve and resulting in uneven and increased pressure on spinal disks.

Prevention
Along with the same preventative measures mentioned above for neck pain you can:
Try not to round your shoulders – this puts extra pressure on your upper spine.
Stay active, get up and move around to circulate your blood. Sitting still for too long can slow blood circulation and muscle fatigue can set in.
Practice back safety everywhere – bend at the knees to pick up heavy objects, watch your posture, don’t slouch, keep your shoulders back, head high, and stomach tucked in to help the back muscles hold your own weight.

Consider pain medication such as aspirin or ibuprofin for mild or occasional back pain, but if pain persists see a doctor or a professional physical therapist.

Terry O’Brien