'Gameboy Back' from gaming may cause a lifetime of back pain

Aug. 13, 2013 at 1:56 AM
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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Dutch surgeons say increasing numbers of children are developing spinal problems due to "Gameboy Back," after too much time hunched over computer games.

Spinal surgeon Dr. Piet van Loon and Andre Soeterbroek said prolonged periods of time hunched over video games consoles and smartphones are damaging the posture of children, and would leave some with lifelong problems, such as slipped disks, the Daily Telegraph reported.

"Essentially, it's like growing bonsai trees: bone responds in the same way as wood. If you force it in a certain direction over a prolonged period, that's how it ends up growing," van Loon wrote in the Dutch medical magazine, Medisch Contact.

Van Loon said experts said the simplest test for Gameboy Back was to see if children could bend over and touch their toes. Those with curvature of the spine would not be able to flex sufficiently to reach.

The surgeons suggested parents should not ban the devices, but pay more attention to their children's posture when they use computers or games. Parents could ensure children and teens take breaks from gaming and texting to ensure movement in their muscles and joints.

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