Back Pain, Neck Pain, and Headaches in Kids On The Rise From ‘Sitting In Front Of A Screen’

San Francisco Chiropractor Comments:

Back pain in kids from sitting in front of screen
About 6 months ago I was contacted by a reporter from the New York Times who had come across a blog post of mine. The article was about Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI) and Forward Head Posture (FHP) in children from digital media use. I actually wrote the article after reading a USA Today story about how children were spending on average 53 hours per week engaging with digital media (TV, games, and computers).  

The reporter wanted to know if there was any actual research to support the claims that chiropractors and medical clinics were making about an increase in adolescent back pain, neck pain, headaches, and RSI from increased digital media usage?

At the time I did not know of any. That is…up until now. 

Today I came across an article today on entitled Sitting In Front Of A Screen Associated With Physical Complaints In Teenagers. Here is an excerpt from the article:

The amount of time teenagers spend in front of TV screens and monitors has been associated with physical complaints. A large study of more than 30,000 Nordic teenagers published in the open access journalBMC Public Health has shown that TV viewing, computer use and computer gaming (screen time) were consistently associated with back pain and recurrent headaches.

Torbjørn Torsheim, from the University of Bergen, Norway, worked with an international team of researchers to study the association between 'screen time' and head- or back-ache. He said, "A rising prevalence of physical complaints such as back pain, neck and shoulder pain, and headache has been reported for adolescent populations. Parallel to this, adolescents are spending an increasing amount of time on screen-based activities, such as TV, computer games, or other types of computer based entertainment".


My Take: As the father of a 5 year old daughter who loves to play on the computer I am concerned. I give her regular chiropractic adjustments, she uses a small cervical pillow…and I make sure she gets tons of exercise. Exercise is the key. And nutrition is important also.


The typical American diet is really high in processed foods, fats, and animal protein…all of which are pro-inflammatory. When you combine an pro-inflammatory diet, lack of exercise, and the stresses of sitting for long periods in front of a computer screen…you are going to get back pain, neck pain, headaches, RSI, and even CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome)…even in children 


Just like adults get neck pain and headaches from staring at a computer screen for hours…so do children.


And the solutions are the same. Eat right. Get plenty of exercise. Maintain proper posture and spinal health (chiropractic can help). Take lots of breaks and stretch out. And use a cervical pillow (do not sleep on your stomach) and a good mattress. And drink plenty of clean water as lactic acid builds up in the muscles when they are in a static position for extended periods of time.  


It sounds like a lot of stuff…but it really isn't…and it's really easy to apply when you know what to do.


The best resources I know of for plant based nutrition are the Veggie Queen and Dr. John Mc Dougall, MD. A good chiropractor can help you implement the plan.


Dr. Eben Davis is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic in San Francisco.


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Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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0 thoughts on “Back Pain, Neck Pain, and Headaches in Kids On The Rise From ‘Sitting In Front Of A Screen’

  1. seattle chiropractor

    It is important to take care of your back and neck since back pain can make your life intolerable. Back pain can completely interrupt your life, so prevention is key. Encouraging kids to use good posture and making sure their computer station has correct ergonomics are excellent ways to prevent back pain in the first place.


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