Smartphone use for more than 3 hours a day in teens can cause back pain and other health problems
Due to the popularity of smartphones and tablets, as well as the growth of television channels, computer games and educational applications, children and adolescents are spending more time staring at screens, sometimes with poor posture, which which can lead to back pain and other issues.
A study by Brazilian researchers, funded by FAPESP and reported in an article published in the scientific journal Healthcare, identified several risk factors for spinal health, such as looking at screens for more than three hours a day, the proximity of the eyes to the screen, and sitting or lying on your stomach.
The study focused on thoracic spine pain (TSP). The thoracic spine is located at the back of the chest (the thorax), primarily between the shoulder blades, extending from the bottom of the neck to the beginning of the lumbar spine. The data analyzed come from surveys of male and female students aged 14 to 18 in the first and second years of high school in Bauru, a medium-sized city in the state of Sao Paulo.
A baseline questionnaire was completed in March–June 2017 by 1,628 participants, of whom 1,393 completed a follow-up questionnaire in 2018. The analysis showed a one-year prevalence of 38.4 percent (the proportion reporting TSP both baseline and follow-up studies). surveys) and a one-year incidence of 10.1% (new TSP reported only in the follow-up survey). More girls than boys reported TSP.
TSP is common in different age groups of the general population worldwide, with prevalence ranging from 15% to 35% in adults and 13% to 35% in children and adolescents. The explosive growth in the use of electronic devices during the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly compounded the problem. The risk factors associated with TSP are physical, physiological, psychological and behavioral, according to several surveys. There is also strong evidence of the effects of physical activity, sedentary habits and mental disorders on spinal health. All of these factors are considered critical by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its latest global review of evidence and guidelines.
“The study can be used to inform health education programs for students, teachers, staff and parents,” said Alberto de Vitta, first author of the paper. He holds a doctorate in education from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and did a postdoctoral fellowship in public health at the State University of Sao Paulo (UNESP) in Botucatu.
“This is in line with some of the objectives of the National Curriculum Parameters (PCN, Brazilian government guidelines for secondary schools), where schools are responsible for health education, including the identification of health risks individual and collective and interventions to combat them, as well as the promotion of self-care habits regarding the possibilities and limits of the body,” said Vitta, who currently teaches and researches at Eduvale College as a faculty member of its Department of Physiotherapy in Avare, Sao Paulo State, and the Graduate Program in Education, Knowledge and Society at Sapucai Valley University in Pouso Alegre, Minas State Gerais.
Information about risk factors for TSP in high school students is important because children and adolescents with back pain are more inactive, perform less well academically and have more psychosocial problems, according to the article. In addition, fewer studies have been conducted on PST than on lower back and neck pain. A systematic review of the literature on TSP found only two prospective studies regarding prognostic factors.
Leave a Reply