Experts in this Story
In a world of tablets, smartphones and video games, it's easy to get distracted, but some of those distractions could be affecting our health, especially in children.
Millions of Americans own a tablet or smartphone, but doctors say constantly looking down at them could be doing a number of our spines, a phenomenon experts have nicknamed "iSlouch."
"Studies now show that as the head starts to go forward, it can add up to 10 pounds of pressure to the spine," said Dr. Matt Herba, a Winter Springs-based chiropractor and sports and medicine doctor with the U.S. Olympic wrestling team.
Herba said many young people are having neck problems from constantly looking down and leaning forward while texting or playing games on their mobile devices, and while it might not be a pain in the neck now, it could really hurt them in the future.
"Long-term, you end up damaging the cartilage and the tissue that's in between, more back pain and neck pain," Herba explained.
On top of "iSlouch," orthodontists said they are seeing another new condition they've nicknamed "iGrind," children griding their teeth while using tablets or smartphones for a long period of time.
"Most of the time, they're subconscious, and they don't know they're doing it," said Dr. Troy King, a pediatric dentist based in Oviedo. "The first thing is to bring it to their awareness and to find a way to do that on a consistent level, and that usually means bringing in somebody else, like the parent."
Dr. King advised parents to let their children know if they see them grinding their teeth or slouching.
Since experts said it can take decades to feel the consequences of "iSlouch" or "iGrind," the best thing you can do is to limit the time you and your children use your smartphones and tablets, and head outside.
"They are not getting the activity they need, and unfortunately that lack of activity is causing the degeneration early," said Dr. Herba.