| research/study

Neck and Upper Shoulder Pain from iPad and Tablet Computer Usage

Researchers Recommend Solutions to Help Avoid “iPad Neck”

“iPad neck” is the term given to the growing incidence of persistent pain in the neck and upper shoulders associated with the use of tablet computers. A new study conducted by researchers from University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) concludes that duration of screen time is not necessarily a risk factor for development of the condition. Instead, they found that iPad neck, or tablet neck, is more closely associated with age, gender, and posture. Lead author Szu-Ping Lee, PT, PhD, Professor of physical therapy at UNLV observed "Theoretically, the more hours you spend bent over an iPad, the more neck and shoulder pain you experience—but what we found is that time is not the most important risk factor. Rather, it's gender and specific postures." The study results were published in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science.

The UNLV team, in conjunction with input from other hospitals and physical therapy centers in Southern Nevada surveyed 412 university students, alumni, faculty, and staff about their tablet computer usage and experiences of neck and shoulder pain. 55% of users reported moderate levels of discomfort and 10% classified their pain as severe. 15% said their symptoms impacted sleep. 70% of female subjects reported these symptoms, versus just under 30% of male subjects. Postures associated with more frequent pain included sitting without back support, sitting with the tablet held in the lap, and seated at a desk with the tablet flat on the surface. The study also found that by a margin of 77% to 23%, women tended to use their devices while sitting on the floor. Dr. Lee concluded "Using these electronic devices is becoming a part of our modern lives. In order to reduce the risk of developing long-term neck and shoulder problems, we need to think about how technology like tablet computer affects human ergonomics and posture."

Read about the study findings.

The journal article may be read here.

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