Are Computer games responsible for increased back pain cases among the nation’s teenagers?
The problem of low back and neck pain in teenagers is likely to increase significantly in years to come,
This seems on the cards considering the associated health problems of obesity, reduced levels of activity, and the popularity of passive entertainment systems such as play stations that encourage further inactivity and prolonged sitting posture in the adolescent age group.
Terry O’Brien of Back Trouble UK says “While 80 percent of the population are likely to experience low back pain at some stage in their life, there is a worrying trend in the amount of back pain experienced by teenagers.
It is well founded that having another family member with a history of back pain means you are more likely to develop back pain as an adolescent. As does poor family functioning and increased life stress.
Higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression are also associated with adolescent back pain.
Back pain is commonly provoked by sporting activity and static postures such as sitting. It is also known that specific sporting groups such as rowers are at higher risk of back pain.
Children seem to fall into two broad groups, those doing very little activity and those doing too much. Both groups are prone to back pain.However it is the worrying trend of inactivity amongst adolescents that is the greatest cause for concern. Fuelled by the dramatic increase in computer games and multi-media consoles.”
Let us now look at Bio-Mechanics.
Bio-mechanics and its association to Back Pain.
When our body is in the standing position it is in a state of unsteady equilibrium because the base is small and the centre of gravity is a long way above it. That is why it has to be balanced by keeping the centre of gravity over the base, otherwise the body would fall over.
Equilibrium: The steadiness of the body depends on the size of its base and the distance of the centre of gravity from that base. An object having a large base and a low centre of gravity is not easily upset.
The first thing necessary in order to accomplish good posture is to straighten the neck, keep the chin down and back. The second important thing is correct deep breathing.
The line of gravity in the fundamental standing position falls in front of the ears, and in front of the cervical and dorsal vertebrae, through the lumbar vertebrae, through the hip joint, and slightly in front of the ankle joint. But this probably varies in individuals according to their build and height.
“Biomechanics is that branch of science concerned with the understanding of the interrelationships of structure and function of living beings with respect to the kinematics and kinetics of motion”
Poor Posture associated by the following:
Genetic disorders, Familial association, Irregular/no exercise, Bad habits when sitting or standing, Carrying excess loads, (School/shopping) Underweight/Overweight (Inadequate diet)
Mental Attitude towards oneself.
Biomechanics is our way of describing how each bit of your body moves in relation to another bit.
Our bodies are fantastic at compensating when things are not quite perfect but unfortunately when we run out of compensations we usually end up with pain and stiffness.
Let’s have a look at some of the more common biomechanical problems:
It’s the fashion not to tie trainers and shoes up but this prevents the shoe from supporting the inside of the foot and allows the foot to roll or ‘pronate’ too much in standing and walking.
This means the knee and the hip rolls inwards too much which makes the inside calf and inside thigh muscle shorter. The iliotibial band can then rub against the outside knee giving pain.
Further up, the bottom muscles become too long and stop working as they should do which puts added stress on the pelvis and low back joints. Before you know it you have back pain, knee pain and ankle pain! And all because of fashion!
Whether you drive 5 miles or 500 miles a day your car seat is really important. In many cars the base of the seat slopes backwards. In fact some of the more expensive cars are the worst because they want you to feel ‘snug’ and safe in the seat. However, this position forces your pelvis to sit too far backwards.
Once this happens your low back and upper back flex forward too much but then your neck muscles have to work really hard to stop your head from flexing too much and allow you to see where you are going. This position then forces your shoulder blades to stretch too far forwards and a large stress is placed on both the front and the back of the shoulder.
The result is neck pain and /or upper or low back pain. This position can exacerbate sciatica as it is a big stretch for the nerves.
The solution is to raise the back of the seat so it becomes more horizontal. Some cars allow you to alter this angle but if yours does not then sit on a small cushion or buy a special wedge shape cushion that fits into the seat.
Back Trouble UK.