Numbers Of Young Canadians Using Smartphone’s On The Rise – Alongside Neck And Back Problems

The digital revolution is changing every aspect of our lives, from how we interact and form relationships to how we work and go about our daily lives.

Canada has one of the highest mobile usage in the whole world. As of 2016, the numbers of people using smartphones exceeded 30 million and as of last year approximately 29% of online traffic was generated by smartphones. It comes no surprise that their posting habits and how frequently they use their smartphones have an impact health with many people becoming addicted to their smartphones and apps, contracting germs, developing eyesight problems and causing distractions that can lead to deadly events.

Health professionals, especially physiotherapists, have been reporting a significant number of back and neck problems in young people. They have concluded that sedentary lifestyles and overuse of smartphones play an important role in this. Also known as ‘text neck’, the risk factor is described as the result of looking down at smartphones for extended periods of time, without any attention being paid to posture. This can put an extra strain on the spine and on the back muscles causing back and neck pain, tightness, headaches and on long term it may even lead to respiratory problems.

How physio can help relieve pain and inflammation

Physiotherapy is an integrated treatment option that is non-invasive and, in a day and time when painkiller addiction is on the rise, it offers drug-free results. The treatment’s goal is to alleviate neck muscle tension, minimize pain and restore balance by optimizing the patient’s postural abnormalities. Using a wide range of manual techniques, such as joint mobilization, neck stabilization exercise, soft tissue massage and posture training, physiotherapists have been deemed to be very effective.

In such cases where the patients are youngsters with smartphone addictions, a physiotherapist will put in place a plan aimed in the first stages to reduce the pain, tension and inflammation as they are considered to be the main symptoms for which patients seek medical help. Later stages of the plan include restoring the body’s functions and strength and putting together a post-treatment routine to prevent the recurrence of the symptoms.

Only by following the advice and having the mindset to make lifestyle adjustments incorporating physical activity and reducing smartphone use, patients can actually experience the best results. Meaning there is an ever-growing need for awareness firstly to avoid these occurrences in the first place and they do happen, to realize the importance physiotherapy can play in treating them. With numbers on the rise on digital users and more and more generations growing up with gadgets and devices, it can become a huge burden not only for Canadian systems, but for global ones altogether. Not to mention an opioid crisis affecting Canada among other countries. Physiotherapy may not be the answer to everything but it can play an important part in finding the solution.

Peter Simpson

Learn More →