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Using mobile devices and computers

Australians are increasingly experiencing back and neck pain due to prolonged use of mobile devices and computers.


Australians send more than 20 billion texts every year and spend more time in front of a screen than they do asleep. Shockingly, the average number of screen‐time hours has crept up to 9 per day* and is affecting posture, comfort and quality of life.

A recent study found that 70% of adults and 30% children and adolescents in Hong Kong reported musculoskeletal pain in relation to their use of electronic devices**. These figures reflect a similar trend in Australia where more than 11.2 million use smartphones***. Device related back pain is a growing trend worldwide. 


The direct cost of back and neck pain to Australians is over $1 billion each year. Indirectly, this pain costs $8 billion as a consequence of lost productivity and disability.


Mobile device use results in many Australians spending hours hunched over a small screen or slumped on a couch or bed, causing muscular tightness and joint restriction of their upper back, neck and shoulders. Extended periods looking down or slouching often result in conditions like headaches, shoulder impingement and neck pain. Hunching the shoulders is even more problematic in children and teenagers as their spine is still developing. Poor posture caused by prolonged device use may cause permanent postural problems heading to potential complications later in life.


Osteopaths and our other therapies are experienced and qualified to assist with these musculoskeletal and postural problems. Our therapists will work with your to reduce muscular tension, inflammation and nerve irritation; improve joint mobility; reduce the duration of low back pain episodes; offer advice on posture, exercises and stretching and help prevent future episodes.


*Medibank. (2014). Is it time to unplug? Community views on the health impact of screen time. Sydney: Medibank.

**The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. (2013). Health effects of using portable electronic devices studied. Hong Kong.

***ACMA. (2013). Communications report 2012–13. Canberra: ACMA.





Article courtesy of & modified from Osteopathy Australia's website

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