A new survey conducted by a health insurer indicates technology use is creating a generation at risk of a “back pain epidemic.”

A survey of 3,000 adults, from Simplyhealth, the UK’s biggest health cash plan provider, shows a generation suffering from back pain more often than older generations do. This problem is fueled by increasing use of handheld technology and a decline in the awareness of good posture and its role in pain prevention, according to a press release. “Experts are warning that this new ‘iPosture generation’ is developing bad habits that could lead to back pain problems in the future unless they take heed of good old fashioned advice to sit up straight and look after their posture,” the press release noted.

Among the survey results:

• Eighty-four percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say they have suffered some incidence of back pain in the last 12 months.

• The average number of working days lost to back pain is higher for of 18- to 24-year-olds than any other; 1.5 days more a year than those of their parents’ generation.

• Almost all age groups spend as much time in front of a PC, laptop or tablet screen in total as they do asleep in bed, some even more so.

• A combination of work and home screen time (excluding traditional TV) means that people older than 55 years spent an average of 6.64 hours a day (the least) versus 8.83 hours a day in front of screen time for a typical 18- to 24-year-old.

• Sixty-seven percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say they either slouch or hunch in front of their PC or other devices at work, and 49 percent of this age group replicate this at home.

• People ages 45 to 54 years old are more than twice as likely as 18- to 24-year-olds to sit up straight at home, on a chair, with their PC or laptop in front of them.

Read the press release here.

Editor’s note: Read “The New Generation of RSIs: Tablet Back, iPad Shoulder, Smartphone Thumb & Texting Tendonitis” in MASSAGE Magazine‘s November 2013 issue.

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