Physical therapists are saying the problem of slouching is getting worse with all the time our kids are spending on electronics. And that spells trouble for more than their posture.
"Especially when teachers are talking and everything, I see kids slouched back in their chair or leaning forward with their head on their desk," said Jayce Heiman, a high schooler.
School aged kids spend an average 7.5 hours a day on electronics and we're just starting to see how that's affecting them physically. And the increase in usage of laptops, ipads and other electronic devices in the classroom means even more time slouched in front of a screen.
"I've noticed my back constantly aching during school," said Heiman.
She didn't realize her backaches were from all the time she was spending on electronics, until she started going to a physical therapist for another problem.
"Like when I'm really engaged in a game, I kinda slouch down. I'm down here and I'm just on my phone," she said, demonstrating.
Physical therapist Cassandra Overton says that's not uncommon. The cause is simple.
"Mainly the problem is students developing poor posture," said Overton.
But the symptoms can be varied, from Heiman's backaches to headaches and other muscle discomfort caused by the stress bad posture puts on the spine. The solution, though.. can be simple.
"Pulling their shoulders back, tucking the chin in a little bit," said Overton. "And just taking a break from any type of games, or computer."
She added treatment is important.
"Because in the end your back is really important. You need it to walk. You need it to sit, stand, run, jump, do anything," said Heiman.
"If you start to have partial problems as a youth it can continue to get worse as you age," said Overton.
Which is why Heiman has a message for all teachers.
"Probably have little sessions where you can stand up, stretch out," said Heiman. "Cause if you stand up a teacher's going to point at you and say you need to sit down. Cause, you know, it's constantly hard on your back."
Physical therapy for slouching related problems concentrates on strengthening the back muscles and abdominals while stretching the upper chest muscles. Because when you're slouching, the back and abs don't get used and get very weak while the upper chest gets very tight from overuse.