London - Experts have revealed that an increasing number of young people are developing a condition, unique to modern society, that they have dubbed “Gameboy Back”.
They say the modern phenomenon, which causes curvature of the spine and sometimes herniated (slipped) discs, is a result of children sitting hunched over games consoles and smartphones for hours on end.
They do not, however, believe a ban on such devices is required. Instead, more attention needed to be paid to correct posture, they said.
Surgeons Piet van Loon and Andre Soeterbroek said the last time such symptoms were observed was more than 100 years ago, when child labour was common in Europe.
The problem was particularly prevalent in eight to 18-year-olds, Soeterbroek told The Irish Times.
He and Van Loon are joint authors of an article in the Dutch medical magazine Medisch Contact, which alerts GPs to the trend.
“Essentially, it’s like growing bonsai trees: bone responds in the same way as wood,” said Van Loon. “If you force it in a certain direction over a prolonged period, that’s how it ends up growing.”
The surgeons said the problem was not the devices themselves, and the answer was not to ban them.
Instead, more attention needs to be paid to posture: particularly, good sitting habits. They explained that attention to posture has almost disappeared the world over. What’s more, parents, physical education teachers and family doctors accepted poor posture in children and teenagers as normal.
The simplest test for Gameboy Back is to have children bend over and touch their toes, making an “n” shape.
Those with curvature of the spine won’t be able to flex in the middle enough to touch their toes.
Teenagers who sit for hours over a screen with head bowed, forcing the spine to curve outwards, can counter this by lying on their front and propping themselves on their elbows. – The Daily Mail