As a user, I’d have to answer a resounding YES! It has already been shown that frequent texting on your mobile phone can cause problems with neck pain, but those of us who use their tablet for everything from surfing the internet to watching full-length movies may be in for even more pain. Commonly referred to as “iPad neck”, (I prefer “tech neck”) increasing numbers of people are making more frequent calls to their massage therapist, chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncturist, or doctor seeking relief from neck pain and stiffness due to the use of this device.
The results of a study published in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation, found that the use of tablet computers was associated with greater head and neck flexion than traditional desktop computers and that placing the tablet higher on a table and using a case to put the tablet at a more optimal angle could help prevent neck and shoulder problems.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Microsoft Corporation studied 15 volunteers who were regular users of tablet computers. The subjects performed simulated tasks on an Apple iPad2 and a Motorola Xoom, during which the posture of the head and neck, the subjects’ gaze angle and gaze distance were measured by a three-dimensional infrared motion analysis system. They surfed the internet, wrote e-mails, watched movies and played video games.
Each tablet came with its own proprietary case that enabled users to set the tablet at different angles. The Apple case allowed for 15° and 73° tilt angles, while the Motorola case allowed angles of 45° and 63°. Greater flexion of the neck was found with the iPad2 when used in its case. Not surprisingly, tablets set at the least perpendicular angle caused greater neck and head flexion than when the subjects used a desktop or laptop computer. Head and neck posture only began to approach a neutral position when the tablets were set in their cases at the Table-Movie angle in which they were closest to perpendicular.
The researchers recommended that tablet users place the devices on a table and at the steepest viewing angle possible to avoid neck and shoulder pain. However, they cautioned that this configuration might cause problems for the arms and wrists, which in this configuration are not optimally placed for input and can lead to problems of their own.
If the thought of giving up your iPad causes you to break out into a cold sweat, at least take a break while the pages load to tilt your head from side to side and front to back. If your connection is really slow, you might even want to set it down (briefly, I promise) and wave the stiffness out of your arms, too.
Or, get a puppy. You won’t be able to sit still long enough to get “tech neck”!
About the Author–Kris Karr
Including being VacuPractor’s Regional Sales Manager, Kris is also a Reiki Master/Teacher, SomaEnergetics Practitioner, Aromatherapist and Herbalist from Northwest Ohio.
VacuPractor is a Class I FDA Registered Orthopedic Device for the treatment of Lower Back Pain. VacuPractor is a revolutionary new treatment device for lower back pain that may help the 26 million people that seek treatment from a doctor and the 100 million that self-medicate and self-treat. The VacuPractor is sold with a money back guarantee to relieve lower back pain, and it is proudly made in the USA.