It sounds like the latest gadget from Apple. But ‘iPosture’ is being blamed for an alarming level of back pain among 18 to 24-year-olds.
The term is being used to describe the stooped body shape adopted by those texting, emailing or playing games on their iPad or smartphone.
About 84 percent of those aged 18 to 24 admitted to having suffered back pain in the past year, in a survey by the healthcare provider Simplyhealth. This age group now loses more working days a year to back pain than those in their parents’ generation.
Dr Brian Hammond, 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 shows that 18 to 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 that almost all age groups spend as much time in front of a computer, laptop or tablet screen in total as they do asleep in bed, some even more so. Excluding time spent watching the “traditional” TV, the typical young adult spends 8.83 hours a day in front of a screen. The total is 6.64 hours for the older generation. The 18 to 24-year-olds are also much more likely to either slouch or hunch in front of their PC or other devices.
Part of that could be down to a lack of old-fashioned advice, because it appears that being told to sit up straight seems to be on the decline. Nearly three-quarters of the older generation recall being given this advice from their parents and more than half remember similar admonishments from their teachers. Parents today are much less likely to tell their children to sit up and stand up straight. Nearly two thirds of those questioned said they never gave their children this advice.
Jean Broke-Smith, an expert in etiquette and deportment, said: “Although it has been decades since people learned good posture at finishing schools, the time seems right to recognize its potential to help younger people avoid the risk of back pain associated with increasing use of hand-held devices,” she said.
“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.”
Source: www.iol.co.za; October 1, 2013.