Gameboy back: a crooked, deformed back

A long time ago, children developed a hunchback due to child labor, but nowadays a welfare product causes a hunchback. Hanging over your iPad or smartphone is just as bad for your back. Research in 2013 showed that forty percent of children/young people between the ages of eight and eighteen have a back that is comparable to that of someone aged fifty. The condition has been given a ‘nice’ name: gameboy back. A crooked, deformed back.

Article content

  • Gameboyback
  • Cause of gameboy back
  • Five Rs
  • How can you test if you have a Game Boy back?
  • How can you prevent Gameboy back?
  • What else can be done?
  • Hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis


You develop the so-called game boy back by using handhelds . When you think of handhelds you should think of game boys, but also smartphones and tablets. More and more children are suffering from this condition. The average age at which people undergo hernia surgery has been decreasing for many years. Nowadays, young people in their twenties are already being operated on for a hernia. A study was conducted in Finland (MRI scans in children between the ages of eight and eighteen) and this underlines the experiences. If your bone pushes in a certain direction, it grows in that direction. The back problems that children experience also cause young people to walk differently and develop so-called bow legs. To maintain balance, the head hangs forward, the pelvis moves more forward and the buttocks seem to disappear.

Cause of gameboy back

When children are growing and often sit hunched over, there is a lot of pressure on the back. The intervertebral discs become thinner at the front than at the back, and a hyperkyphosis (hunchback) develops in the middle part of the back . The high pressure also causes the intervertebral discs to dry out and the back becomes even stiffer. The process can be rapid, especially around the age of four and during puberty.

Five Rs

You don’t suddenly get a Gameboy back. The process consists of five V’s:

  1. Loss of muscle strength
  2. Tightening of muscles and joints
  3. Stiffening of muscles and joints
  4. Distortion _
  5. Moving bone parts

How can you test if you have a Game Boy back?

To test this you can do a bend test . Children with a healthy back can touch their toes when they bend over. The back then has an N-shape. If you suffer from a Gameboy back, you cannot touch your toes, the lower back is almost completely straight and the upper back is crooked. Since children are not yet fully grown, a deformed back can still be corrected. This can be done with exercises or braces. In adults it is difficult to correct. It is therefore very important that children become aware of their posture from an early age.

How can you prevent Gameboy back?

Swearing off mobile devices is an option, but difficult to implement in today’s times. What also helps is to be more aware of mobile devices. For example, it is much better to lie on your stomach while using the devices , rather than sitting forward. If you lie on your stomach, the back muscles are strengthened . A special chair would not be necessary, children should sit on the edge with at least one knee down and the foot under the chair (Mr. Soeterbroek, analyst). Children need to move, play sports. The main point is that they learn good posture .

What else can be done?

  • Clinic and school doctors must be alert to abnormalities in posture.
  • Perform bending tests from group three onwards.
  • Physical education teachers must monitor and record the developments in children’s attitudes.

Hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis

The cause of a gameboy back is referred to as hyperkyphosis. With hyperkyphosis there is a strong outward curvature at the top of the back (hunchback).

The normal spinal column

A normal spine has three curves. When the spine curves outward, it is called kyphosis, this is the case at the chest. When the spine curves inward, it is called lordosis. This is the case in the neck and at the level of the lumbar vertebrae.

Abnormalities in the spinal column: hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis

Various spinal deformities occur, such as hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis. In hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis the bends are too strong. In hyperkyphosis there is a strong outward curvature at the top of the back: hunchback. With hyperlordosis there is a stronger inward curvature in the lower back: a hollow back. Hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis can occur together.

Causes of hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis

The most common causes of hyperkyphosis are: collapse of the vertebrae due to osteoporosis or conditions that limit the mobility of the back. Consider, for example, wear and tear of vertebrae. Poor posture or being overweight can also be the cause. Hyperkyphosis often leads to hyperlordosis. The lower back tries to compensate for the deviation. Hyperlordosis can also occur in people with weak abdominal muscles and poor posture. People who are overweight are more likely to have hyperlordosis because they lean backwards to maintain balance.

Treatment of hyperkyphosis and hyperlordosis

  • A doctor can give tips for good posture.
  • Stop doing certain activities that are very strenuous.
  • Losing weight if you are overweight.
  • Exercise therapy/physiotherapy to improve posture: strengthening the muscles that support the spine.
  • In hyperkyphosis due to osteoporosis, it is important to combat the pain. A corset can be fitted, painkillers are an option and medicines to restore the balance of the bones.
  • People with a strange curvature of the spine are more likely to have other back problems.

read more

  • Scheuermann’s disease: cause, symptoms and treatment
  • Osteoporosis: cause, symptoms, treatment, prevention
  • Tablet neck, iPad arm, smartphone wrist: solving complaints