A study of more than 30,000 Nordic teenagers published in the open access journal BMC Public Health has shown that TV viewing, computer use and computer gaming ("screen time") were consistently connected with back pain and recurrent headaches.
Torbjørn Torsheim, from the University of Bergen, Norway, worked with an international team of researchers to study the association between 'screen time' and headache or back pain. He said, "A rising prevalence of physical complaints such as back pain, neck and shoulder pain, and headache has been reported for adolescent populations. Parallel to this, adolescents are spending an increasing amount of time on screen-based activities, such as TV, computer games, or other types of computer based entertainment".
The researchers reported that the evidence suggested the physical complaints are not related to the type of screen-based activity (whether it be gaming or just viewing), but to the duration and ergonomic aspects of such activity. Speaking about the findings, Torsheim said, "The consistent but relatively weak magnitude of associations is in line with the interpretation that screen time is a contributing factor, but not a primary causal factor, in headache and backache in the general population of Nordic school-aged teenagers."