Is Electronics Use Impacting Your Kids’ Back Health?

More time spent sitting and using electronics is affecting children’s musculoskeletal systems.

Hours spent sedentary in school, sitting in front of computers, and talking and texting on phones, plus carrying heavy book bags is putting a lot of stress on kids’ spines.

Musculoskeletal disorders affect even children’s musculoskeletal system, and are on the rise due to an increase in physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles. Every inch that the head tilts forward from the upright position causes an increase of 10 pounds of force on the spine, says Carol Green, physical therapist at OrthoCarolina’s Eastover Physical Therapy office. That’s like trying to hold a 10-pound bowling ball on an outstretched arm all day. 

Green offers these suggestions to help reduce your child’s risk of neck and back pain or injury.

  1. Use a standing desk for homework. This helps by bringing the computer and keyboard higher and allowing the ability to stand up straight instead of sitting in a slouched position.
  2. Make sure sitting desks are at the 90-90-90 position. The head should be on top of the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees flexed to 90 degrees and feet resting flat on the floor. A large therapeutic ball can be good to sit on as well. Avoid sitting on the couch with knees propped up supporting the computer.
  3. Use a rolling bag for books and electronic devices if possible. Less stress on the spine than carrying a heavy backpack.

Most importantly, keep students moving!