Kids’ Screentime Injuries
Over the years of treating many and varied musculoskeletal conditions, there has been a noticeable increase in the presentation to the clinic of kids with stress related back, neck and shoulder pain, sometimes with associated headaches.
The most likely cause is the postures young people adopt whilst engaged in on-screen time – home work, gaming, watching YouTube/episodes and chatting on social media on average consume a large part of their day. Postures are often slouched or lying down with necks and spine in one position.
Sitting most of the day and then hauling a heavy school back on one shoulder also makes them vulnerable to neck or shoulder pain. In addition, the increasing stress in the VCE years adds a further load to muscle tension in the neck area.
As physios we can suggest better ways to tackle being on screen. Often for teenagers it is just a small adjustment to their computer habits, and coming from a health professional can be helpful instead of a parent. We of course are also here to treat the symptoms of shoulder and neck pain, and to give kids a range of exercises so that they can manage their own health. There is no need to live with pain and dysfunction.
All our physios have sound knowledge in assisting with the prevention and management of these all too common concerns. Don’t hesitate to speak to us about this, it’s always better to catch these preventable and treatable symptoms early on.
Here are a few tips to help prevent the onset of these symptoms:
Posture at the Computer – sit with your back straight, shoulders relaxed. Hips, knees, and elbows at 90º, feet on the floor. Avoid slumping sit tall with a straight back. Think long neck with shoulders relaxed.
Your eyes should be level with the top of your screen – if your screen is either too high or low this will affect your posture as you will strain your neck to maintain a good focus.
Mouse Arm – don’t use a mouse by stretching to the desk or out to the side of a keyboard.
Reference material – should be in front of you rather than off to the side, to avoid straining the neck with repetitive rotational movements.
Take a break – set a timer for every 45mins to get up and stretch your torso in the opposite direction of sitting (for example hands above head, gently arch back looking up).