The pain that phones are causing

Bella Francavilla, Focus Editor

Imagine going about your daily routine and then suddenly feeling a crippling pain shoot through and down your back. You recover momentarily only for the pain to intensify and move down into your leg. For senior Abigail Ruiz, this was what she experienced in the beginning of the school year.
“I started experiencing pain every time I got up. Eventually it escalated to where I couldn’t get up anymore,” Ruiz said. “After that, I went to go see a chiropractor, and they told me I had pinched my sciatic nerve.”
Although experiencing back pain at some point in life is common, many professionals believe teens should not be having back problems this young. Chiropractic doctor and owner of Petett Chiropractic in Renton, Scott Petett, has noticed a change in the basic evolution of kids.
“What is becoming more prevalent is a flexed anterior weight bearing posture from too much screen time. This posture puts abnormal stress on the musculoskeletal system that may lead to pain and discomfort,” Petett said.
Petett mentioned that he started out seeing his patients regularly and that they were often coming in to keep up with good spinal hygiene habits; however, the problems they deal with have gotten worse over time.
“I think phones and sedentary lifestyle are huge culprits in neck tension, headaches and back pain,” Petett said. “A lack of education in being proactive taking care of ones musculoskeletal system and not waiting for pain to be the motivator also plays a role.”
While the cases Petett have dealt with can be extreme, students here at Liberty experience problems of their own.
“If I am on my phone for hours at a time, I notice my neck and back will hurt really bad,” junior Julian Manning said.
Petett recognizes these frequent pains and says that phones, although great, can be a huge stressor on the spine.
Some tips that Dr. Petett recommends to help improve and prevent damage to a spine include: having good shoes, mattress, pillow, diet, daily exercise and a periodic chiropractic adjustment. To help lessen any back pain or neck pain from looking down at a book or an electronic device, try looking up towards the sky for 30 seconds, and then go back to what you are doing.