Oh, the good ol’ days—when we predicted our futures with MASH; when we could finally listen to our music on the go with the Sony Walkman, then the Discman, and then the MP3 player; when we played with Rubik’s Cubes and Bop Its like they were the best things since, well, the internet. Those days of less supervision, of free rein and adventure, are almost gone, probably because a lot of the things we did should have caused us a lot more pain. Maybe we are just starting to feel the effects of our childhood in the form of back pain. In fact, here’s why kids like you from the 80s and 90s should have back pain galore:
- The car safety standards were nonexistent.
We weren’t required to wear seat belts by law until 1984 when New York became the first state to require them. And it wasn’t until 1995 when the law was adopted to every single state. Most kids during this time of law change remember sharing seat belts, piling in the back of the station wagon, or just not wearing seat belts at all. This unsafe transportation caused uncomfortable seating arrangements in the car and more injuries in car accidents—which means more back pain then and now.
- “Be home by dinner.”
“Christopher, dinner!” When we heard this phrase, we knew it was time to go home. Our parents let us wander throughout the cul-de-sac (and farther) all day. When we were out for the day, we were out. But when someone was called in to dinner, we knew it was time for all of us to go home. During the days, we explored the wilderness, brooks and streams. We rode our bikes as far as we could, climbing trees, building forts, and doing tricks on our Razor scooters or BMX bikes. And you bet we fell off our trees, bikes, and scooters and landed flat on the pavement. No wonder there was always at least one kid in class with a broken arm (whose cast would have our doodles and stickers all over it). And no wonder we all have broken backs today.
- Trampolines equal danger.
Speaking of reckless, our trampolines had no padding over the springs and no cages to keep us from falling off into the grass (or whatever was below). And you can bet we didn’t jump cautiously. We cracked the egg, tried to steal each others’ bounces, and jumped higher and higher until we could touch the leaves of the tree above us. And if we didn’t land correctly . . . we broke.
- Sugar? Why, yes.
We ate sugar like you wouldn’t believe. It was packed into everything: gum, cereal, juice. Sometimes homemade lunch would be twinkies and kool aid. And if we ate hot lunch at school it wasn’t much healthier: white bread sandwiches, mystery meats, and a lot of chocolate milk. It wasn’t until 2010 when the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act changed school lunch menus to be nutritional. With our unhealthy lunches at school and sugary cereal in front of our TV watching Saturday morning cartoons, we were prone to obesity and the back pain that comes with it.
- Toys were pain.
There are few things that hurt worse than stepping on legos, grabbing your foot, hopping on more legos with your other foot, and falling to the ground onto even more legos. But one of the things that hurt worse than that were the famous skipits. Skipits were a toy that had a ring on one side for you to put your ankle in and a ball on the other side. The ring and the ball were connected by a plastic rope. You put your ankle through the ring and drug the ball on the other end of the plastic rope around in circles, hopping over the rope with your free leg. It was fun, but if the ball hit your ankle, you were done playing forever. Not to mention, the ring around your ankle made your skin raw. Other toys like pogo sticks were fun for a time but hurt your back and your confidence. Tamagotchis gave you a crick in your neck because you had to look down to your belt loop at your virtual animal, and heelys were just a disaster waiting to happen. With all these toys that caused us pain, it is no wonder that we have back pain today. And going home to rest on blowup furniture didn’t help with our posture or pain.
- Skateboarding, riding BMX bikes, and rollerblading without gear.
Ridin’ down the road in a brand new BMX bike or Razor scooter or skateboard or rollerblades was gnarly. The only thing was, most parents didn’t make us wear helmets or protective gear (or they just didn’t know we weren’t wearing any). And we used to build bike jumps in the middle of the cul-de-sac. When we fell off, the phrase “if you step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back” became “you’ll break your own back because you’re being stupid.”
- Methods of music listening were even painful.
Music played a huge role in our lives, just like it still does today. Dancing to the Macarena is what our childhood was. Bringing out the boombox radio so you could listen to music while you played outside was the shiz. Too bad we carried it on our shoulders and hurt our necks. If you were a bit older in the 80s, you dressed in all neon and went to crazy dance parties and did crazier moves that hurt your back. It seems like everything back then caused back pain, even the fun stuff.
- We played so many video games because they were just invented.
During this season of growing up, video games began. In 1985, one of the biggest entertainment systems was the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). With it, games like Super Mario Bros. and the Legend of Zelda made history, because there are still popular forms of these games today. Soon newer models of video game consoles came out: Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and even the game boy. With all these games, we were straining our necks to look up at the TV, as our controllers didn’t have the longest of cords. Or we were looking down at our game boys. All that muscle strain must have done a number on our backs and posture.
- Poorly designed playgrounds were the norm.
The playground was a dangerous adventure back in the day. The big spider web dome was made of metal that roasted in the sun. Swing sets and seesaws were made of wood that gave out splinters and slivers. And if you fell off any of the playground equipment you landed in either rocks or bark, neither of which had the bounce that today’s melted down tire rubber has. In the 80s, more than 200,000 children (in the U.S.) went to emergency rooms with injuries they got from recess on the playground. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that just four states passed laws regulating playground design. With all those emergency room injuries, back pain is a given.
- Smoking and drinking were easily accessible and acceptable.
It was only a few decades ago when people started to understand the negative health effects that drinking and smoking can have on one’s body, which meant that kids who grew up in the 80s and even some in the 90s were more inclined to drink and smoke themselves. It was even common for your parents or relatives to give you a sip of their alcoholic beverage. At school in art class, kids crafted ashtrays for their grandparents because that was the perfect way to say, “I love you.” And smoking was still seen as a cool pastime; candy cigarettes were sold in gas stations for the enjoyment of children; imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. All these social norms actually made it more common for those kids to grow up and smoke themselves, causing poor health among that generation. Many studies show that those who smoke are more likely to develop chronic back pain, just one more reason kids from the 80s and 90s need to worry about back pain.
With all that back pain we’ve accumulated over the years, how do we get rid of it?
With all the back pain we should have (or most of us do have), how are we going to get rid of it? Over 200,000 people have benefited from using the Chirp Wheel+ for their back pain relief. And most of them were even our age, so they understand how bad back pain can get. Check out the Chirp Wheel+ for the world’s simplest back pain relief.