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Doctors see a rise in 'Gameboy back'

August 28th 2013 / Rosie Steel


Our reliance on phones, games and portable computers is causing back problems from a young age, reports Rosie Steel

You may shudder at the thought of surviving without the wonders of modern technology, but experts are warning that children are overusing electronic devices and the effects are far from positive.

Excessive use of Gameboys and smartphones has led to the increase of a new condition, dubbed ‘Gameboy Back’, which causes curvature of the spine and in some cases a slipped disc. Caused by endless hours in which children spend hunched over their electronics, doctors who have come across the modern condition have not blamed the gadgets themselves and instead say that encouraging better posture is the lesson to take home.

Unsurprised by the findings, expert chiropractor Dominic Cheetham explains how it happens: “The spine is a dynamic structure made for movement, and prolonged periods of inactivity in a hunched position will clearly cause damage to the spinal joints and discs.”

His advice is to follow one simple rule; for children to spend only one hour per day on these devices. Cheetham recommends that parents encourage their children to do regular exercises and stretches to improve their posture, such as stretching up to the ceiling and stretching the arms behind the back. He also suggests that children should sit in an armchair that supports both their arms and spine when using smartphones, Gameboys and other such devices. Straight-talking, spine-improving advice that the Glossies will certainly be following.

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