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Physiotherapist Gill Smith produces video to fight ‘smartphone slump’

by Emma Watson, Mordialloc Chelsea Leader - May 24, 2017 4:45pm

A PHYSIOTHERAPIST is warning parents about a phenomenon she’s dubbed the ‘smartphone slump’ which can lead to a lifetime of back pain if not corrected.

Gill Smith has seen an influx of teenagers at her Edithvale practice, Innovative Physio, complaining of headaches and sore lower backs.

She says these are symptoms of poor posture and blames society’s obsession with technology — smartphones, tablets and laptops — and has posted a cautionary video online showing the distorted back of a 15 year-old using his phone.

“We don’t want a child going through life, constantly slumping, not knowing how to come out of it,” Ms Smith told Leader.

Ms Smith’s video was viewed more than 4000 times in just 24 hours because, she said, the issue was a “niggling concern” for parents.

It took one session to teach the 15-year-old client in the video how to correct his posture by using real-time ultrasound technology, and he no longer complains of back pain, Ms Smith said.

But for those who couldn’t access physiotherapists, Ms Smith’s top tip for overcoming the “slump” was being proactive, beginning when children used the computer at home.

“The children need something to put their feet on (similar to an aerobic step), they must have their legs apart and try to get the knees over their third toe — they should be able to see their big and second toe,” Ms Smith said.

She also suggested limiting children’s time in front of a computer or similar device to 30-minute blocks.

“Get them into the habit of on the computer, then off,” Ms Smith said.

“Set the clock to 30 minutes, but then go and be physical (like jump on a trampoline or bounce a ball).”

“We haven’t seen this slumped posture since the Industrial Revolution — it’s returned, because a lot of downtime and leisure time is now spent engaging on devices,” she said.

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