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Headaches & Back Pain Related to Screen Time

This study included 31,022 teens from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Greenland and Norway who were part of the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children study. Teens reported how much time they spent playing computer-based or television-based games, how much time they spent on the computer and how much time they spent watching TV. They were also asked about the frequency of headaches, backaches and bouts of feeling low.

Researchers found a consistent but weak link between boys who reported having backaches weekly and those who said they spent more time using computers, watching television and playing computer games. For girls, a link was found between those who had headaches and who also said they spent more time on the computer and watching TV. The results held even when the researchers adjusted for levels of physical activity.

The link between back and head pain and screen time might not be related to the kind of screen activity the teens were engaged in, but to the amount of time they spent doing it and how they sat or stood while screen-engaged.

Over my 30 years in practice I am seeing more back pain, neck aches, neck-shoulder pain and headache in the adolescent population related to prolonged sitting.

Excess amounts of screen time have also been associated with obesity in young people.

The study was published in the journal 2010 BMC Public Health

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