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April 16, 2014

Tablet and laptop use ‘causing widespread pain’ in young people

40% of 11- to 16-year-olds has suffered some kind of back or neck pain, chiropractor's study finds.

By Vinod

The use of laptops and tablets is behind a major rise in neck and back pain sufferers amongst young people, a new report has said.

Research from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has found that being slumped in front electronic devices could be contributing to a rise in muscle and joint problems, especially in teenagers.

People working on such devices often sat in a ‘hunched’ position, leading to strain being put on their backs, the BCA said, adding that 40% of 11 to 16-year-olds in Britain have experienced back or neck pain as a result.

The BCA’s survey of more than 460 parents of 11 to 16 year olds found that more than 15% of parents said their son or daughter’s pain was a result of using a laptop, tablet or computer, and that nearly one in four teenagers (23%) spends between two and four hours a day watching television.

"We are seeing more and more people under the age of 16 with back and neck pain and technology is so often the cause," BCA chiropractor Rishi Loatey said. "Young people are becoming increasingly sedentary, which is damaging their posture. There is the tendency to sit in a hunched position when working on computers and laptops, putting a lot of strain on the neck.

"Learning how to sit properly and keeping active will help to keep young people healthy and pain-free. It’s important that parents seek help for their children from an expert as soon as any pain starts, if conditions are left untreated, it could lead to chronic back and neck problems in later life."

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In order to ameliorate this, the association has released a number of tips for parents, including encouraging their children to be more active and only to sit for short periods, and teaching them how to sit properly.

It has also developed "Straighten Up" — a simple, three-minute exercise programme for all ages, designed to help strengthen the spine and improve posture and help joints.

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