iPosture generation facing a lifetime of back pain
Technology generation advised to ‘sit up straight’ or risk ‘slumping' into a national back pain epidemic
A massive 84 per cent of 18-24 year olds have admitted to suffering some incidence of back pain in the last 12 months, according to new research. This is by no means just the odd tweak, the average number of working days lost to back pain is higher for this age group than any other; 1.5 days more a year than those of their parents’ generation*.
A survey of 3,000 adults, from Simplyhealth, the UK's biggest health cash plan provider, shows a nation on the point of a potential back pain epidemic fuelled by rising use of new, hand held technology and a decline in the awareness of good posture and its role in pain prevention. Experts are warning that this new ‘iPosture generation’ are developing bad habits that could lead to back pain problems in the future unless they take heed of good old fashioned advice to sit up straight and look after their posture.
The results showed that almost all age groups spend as much time in front of a PC, laptop or tablet screen in total as they do asleep in bed, some even more so. A combination of work and home screen time (excluding traditional TV) means that over 55s spent an average of 6.64 hours a day (the least) versus a massive 8.83 hours a day in front of screen time for a typical 18-24 year old.
However, key differences seem to emerge when it comes to the different generations’ use of technology. Two thirds (67 per cent) of 18-24 year olds agree they either slouch or hunch in front of their PC or other devices at work and almost half of this age group replicate this at home (49 per cent). Their parents on the other hand (45-54 year olds) are more than twice as likely to sit up straight at home, on a chair, with their PC or laptop in front of them.
However, being told to sit up or stand up straight seems to be on the decline too. Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of those tracing their childhood years back to the 1950s and before recall being given this advice from their parents and more than half (54 per cent) remember similar admonitions from their teachers. Parents today are much less likely to tell their children to sit up and stand up straight, 59 per cent of those questioned said they never gave their children this advice.
To support individuals with back pain and those wanting to prevent it Simplyhealth and BackCare have developed a free App which allows users to input data on the type and location of their back pain to generate daily tailored advice as well as details of local specialist advice and support available. There are also exercises and information available for individuals to do when at home and in the workplace to help look after their backs.
* (average of 6.74 days for 18-24 year olds versus 5.12 for 45 to 54 year olds).
** Up to £120,000