Setting students str8

Infographic by Rebecca Madden

Statistics exhibit the intricacies of the back and spine problems developing currently in teens due to excessive technology use producing bad posture. Source: Cleveland Clinic and

By Rebecca Madden, Cathedral Catholic High School

Cathedral Catholic High School student Kyle Wong ‘21 looks forward to his future of college and adulthood, but in the modern age technology, Wong, among others, suffers from back pain sourced to the use of technology, hindering his future.

“My back pain got so bad I couldn’t really do anything without noticing it or just be able to do anything at all,” Wong said. “It ended up being scoliosis, which is kind of crazy because I was never told by a doctor that I might have it before the pain started.”

Having noticed the terrible posture among peers due to technology and devices, siblings Sophie Raiszadeh ‘19 and ‘21 Cyrus Raiszadeh, along with some of their family friends, began the Str8 Up non-profit movement to correct the bad posture habits developing in today’s youth.

Studies began revealing the correlations between increased technology use and back pain about four years ago. The condition, called text neck, cites that forward posture adds to the weight for the spine to support, creating a greater possibility of neck and back pain.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kamshad Raiszadeh, Sophie and Cyrus Raiszadeh’s father, noticed an increase in teen patients with similar kinds of back pain and reported his findings to his kids.

“When [our father] started telling us about all of the patients that were our age, it really sparked an interest,” Sophie Raiszadeh said. “We started looking into the text neck studies, and that was the beginning of wanting to do something about it.”

After the initial inspiration, Sophie and Cyrus Raiszadeh began their non-profit Str8 Up at their elementary school.

“The start of it was so we could make sure they were aware of the problem so [students] would be better off in the long run,” Cyrus Raiszadeh said. “Administrations from many different schools really liked the idea, and we got many opportunities to present to kids.”

The main part of the Str8 Up organization consists of presentations by Sophie and Cyrus Raiszadeh, but a large part of the beginning included making their treademaked poster that now sits in every CCHS classroom.

“The main focus in the beginning was working to get our logo designed so we had a slogan and visual to show people with our presentations,” Sophie Raiszadeh said. “The posters are now pretty much a reminder to straighten your posture throughout the day, even for me.

“I’m always hunched over my books or my ipad or notes. Just seeing [our posters] and taking a break is really helpful.”

The main goal of the program is to raise awareness of teenage posture issues affecting behavior now and in the future.

“We need students to know the issue and make sure they do something about it before they have to deal with chronic back pain in the future,” Cyrus Raiszadeh said.

To some students the pain has already caught up, including those patients visiting Dr. Raiszadeh. There are many people seeking options other than an orthopedic surgeon, such as chiropractors, who offer aid to those with back and spinal issues with consultations and treatment plans.

“I used to go [to a chiropractor] weekly, but now that most of my pain is gone, I have appointments about once a month,” Wong said. “I’m just so glad that it didn’t get to a point of no return with any crazy surgery to fix my back.”

Wong’s chiropractor, Dr. Lamont Loy, offers treatment to a wide variety of people with all different kinds of pain.

“I have so many patients that are under 18 years old with incredibly similar neck and shoulder issues that stem from daily posture, sports, and everything in between,” Dr. Loy said.

Doctors everywhere agree sitting for hours a day with poor posture only negatively affects teens and students as they start their adult life. CCHS students now have a constant reminder throughout campus to straighten their posture and protect their futures.

“The posters are a more fun reminder than every adult telling me to just have better posture,” Wong said. “Taking a break to stand up straight is interesting and could possibly provide breaks during classes.”

This story was originally published on El Cid on January 31, 2019.