Gadgets use among children is leading to a new health condition
“Gameboy back” is becoming increasingly common among kids as they slouch over their devices.
Spine researchers have now said that the over use of gadgets among children and teens should be carefully watched, as poor posture can lead to bad posture, which will produce back pain later on in life
One of the researchers is recommending that bad posture be caught early and corrected to save kids from this fate.
The term “Gameboy back” has now been coined by two orthopedic surgeons from the Netherlands. This term is now being used to describe patients between the ages of 8 and 18 years, who are slumping over their gadgets for such lengths of time that it is causing their spines to curve.
Until the overuse of these gadgets came along, it was rare for children in this age group to need a spine surgeon.
According to University of Toronto professor of neurological and orthopedic surgery, Mark Erwin, “For a young child up to 18 years old to have to see a spine surgeon is abnormal.” When children are hunched over their gadgets for a length of time on a regular basis, the spine begins to form a “C” shape that places an abnormal load on the spinal disks. This can build up and worsen over time. Erwin noted that doctors in Canada are treating patients for serious back problems at earlier ages, for issues that are typically seen notably later in life.
Erwin – who studies degenerative disc disease – explained that “This is a real thing” and that “It seems to be so benign, kids playing video [games]. But it’s not benign.”
The normal shape of a spine is closer to an “S”. However, sitting for long periods, hunched over gadgets can round the spine into a “C” shape over days and weeks. This adds strain to the muscles, disks, and ligaments. Some of the muscles start to weaken, others become too loose. Over time, this problem can compound itself.
Researchers are hoping that heavy users of gadgets – and their parents – will recognize this issue early and will take action to correct it before permanent damage occurs.