“Game Boy Back” Is A Real Medical Ailment for Gamers With Bad Backs

Another to add to the list of First World problems.

“Game Boy Back” Is A Real Medical Ailment for Gamers With Bad Backs

Turns out video games are hard work. The effects of hunching over to play with game consoles, smartphones, and tablets have created what two Dutch orthopedic specialists call “Game Boy back,” where young gamers exhibit symptoms typically seen among older hardworking adults.

Research published in the Dutch medical journal Medisch Contact found a rise in spine curvature among 8- to 18-year-olds. The doctors told The Irish Times that herniated disks and curvature of the spine was last seen in children more than 100 years ago.

“In those days, kids got weak backs from child labour; now they’re getting it from these devices,” said Andre Soeterbroek, one of the orthopedic specialists. “It makes no difference to the body whether you’re hunched over in a cigar factory or spending eight hours over an iPad.”

Add “Game Boy back” to the list of First World problems, alongside “text neck” and “BlackBerry thumb.”

Fret not, gamers. There’s no need to forego Plants Versus Zombies. You just need to practice good posture while playing.

[Image: Flickr user wwarby]

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.