A recent study has shown that 55% of tablet users complain of neck and shoulder pain, sometimes even losing sleep.
Do you often have pain in your neck and shoulders? Maybe you're using your tablet too much, as more and more Americans are. New research has shown that 55% of tablet users complain of neck and shoulder pain, sometimes even losing sleep (15% of the cohort).
The prevalence of the symptom is higher among women: 70% of respondents reported pain, compared to just under 30% of men. Yet only 46% of participants said they would stop using their tablet if they were experiencing body pain.
To achieve these results, published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, scientists interviewed 412 students from southern Nevada. "The time spent in front of the tablet is not the most important risk factor, it's more gender and specific postures," says Zu-Ping Lee, professor of physiotherapy at the University of Nevada and lead author of the study. "Theoretically, the more hours you spend in front of an iPad, the more neck and shoulder pain you'll have."
The "neck of the tablet"
The problematic postures are those that cause the user of the tablet to collapse and look down. This happens especially when sitting with the tablet on the knees, or on any other flat surface. The American doctors then speak of "neck of the tablet" (iPad neck, in English), in reference to the famous "neck of the rabbit" French. In 10% of cases, neck and shoulder pain are serious. "Flexing the neck forward for long periods of time can put pressure on the spine, causing tension and muscle aches in the neck and shoulders," the researchers say.
The disparity of pain between the sexes can be explained by differences in size. According to the researchers, the tendency of women to have weaker muscle strength and a smaller stature could lead them to apply more to the neck and shoulders when they hit their tablet. Precisely, women 2.059 times more likely to be affected than men.
In the first quarter of 2018, 31.7 million tablets were sold worldwide. Apple sold 9.1 million iPads during this period, making the US giant the largest tablet vendor in the world. Its market share is 28.8%. The apple firm is followed by Samsung (16.7%) and Huawei (10%). "In order to reduce the risk of developing long-term neck and shoulder problems, we need to think about how technologies like touch pad affect human ergonomics and posture."