We live in an era where health information is available at your fingertips through search engines, and everyone can publish their advice online. It can be challenging to distinguish between expert opinions and common myths about posture, in particular as it relates to posture and back pain in young digital natives. That's why we quote in this article some of the recent expert studies on the topic of posture and digital natives.
Back pain in childhood and early adolescence are significantly related to back pain reports in adulthood (Brattberg, Feldman, Harreby et al.). Extended TV, late bedtimes, short sleeping time, and long-time video-game playing have been shown to increase the risk of back pain (Szita, Yabe). Computer use in adolescence gives rise to poor head, neck and lumbar postures during screen time which may alter developing neuromusculoskeletal systems. It is not entirely clear whether this is worsened by the habitual postures adopted during prolonged sitting and standing or the sedentary life style associated with it. While education on posture (upright sitting and correct lifting) have been shown to be effective for at least two years afterwards in youngsters (Geldhof), it had no effect as a preventative strategy on the incidence of back or neck pain. Holistic measures including yoga, pilates and Alexander technique all show encouraging results for postural measures in preventing back pain but it is uncertain as to whether these are reflective of regular movement, increased flexibility and improved mood than to posture alone.
If you are looking for more information on posture, it is advised to get the right information from the right sources. On the Patient Line website, you can find a vast array of trusted resources put together by healthcare providers. Of course, you can also always contact your doctor to inquire about your specific needs.
Read more on back pain in this article. www.eurospinepatientline.org/back-pain-in-young-people.htm
Written by Derek T Cawley, MMedSc MCh FRCS Orth, Consultant Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon
Edited by Katelijne Vercaeren, Eurospine Patient Line Editor