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Ipads, tablets and smartphones are causing an increase in the number of people suffering from back pain, new research has shown. Medical experts believe our propensity to hunch over modern devices whilst texting, emailing or playing games could be leading to a back condition dubbed ‘iposture’.
Figures show typically 1.5 more working days per year are lost to back pain by 18-24 year olds compared to the number of days lost a year by their parents’ generation.
The study also found a massive 84% of 18-24 year olds have admitted to suffering some incidence of back pain in the last 12 months.
The results were published in association with the newly launched Simplyhealth BackCare App, following a study carried out among 3,000 adults.
Dr Brian Hammond, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of BackCare, the national back pain charity, said:
”The vast majority of people experience back pain in the lower back.
”Over half the population experience pain in the neck or lower back every year – this survey data shows that 18-24 year olds are more likely to experience pain in the upper back and neck.
”It is likely that slumping and hunching over computers and hand-held devices is a contributory factor in the different types of back pain reported by different generations.
”Younger people are far more likely to be hunched over a device on a sofa, and would benefit from paying close attention to the basics of good posture.”
The results also show almost all age groups spend as much time in front of a PC, laptop or tablet screen in total as they do asleep in bed, some even more so.
Additionally a combination of work and home screen time, excluding traditional TV, means that over 55s spent an average of 6.64 hours a day, versus a massive 8.83 hours a day in front of screen time for a typical 18-24 year old.
Two thirds of 18-24 year olds agree they either slouch or hunch in front of their PC or other devices at work and almost half of this age group replicate this at home.
Their parents on the other hand 45-54 year olds are more than twice as likely to sit up straight at home, on a chair, with their PC or laptop in front of them.
However, being told to sit up or stand up straight seems to be on the decline too.
Nearly three-quarters of those tracing their childhood years back to the 1950s and before recall being given this advice from their parents and more than half remember similar admonitions from their teachers.
Parents today are much less likely to tell their children to sit up and stand up straight – 59 per cent of those questioned said they never gave their children this advice.
Jean Broke-Smith, etiquette and deportment expert and former principal of the famous Lucy Clayton Finishing School said:
“Although it has been decades since people learned good posture at finishing schools, the time seems right to recognise its potential to help younger people avoid the risk of back pain associated with increasing use of hand-held devices.
”Being aware you are slouching or hunching over your tablet or smartphone is half the battle.
”The other half is to counter this bad habit and the potential pain it can generate by always sitting up with a straight back with your device in a comfortable position at a reasonable height in front of you.”