The Apple Ipad has come to be known for many things: Innovation, Easability of use, Great for Kids to keep themselves busy while mom is cooking, reading the newspaper and best of all, easy to move around with - but here's a new one: Neck Pain and Shoulder Discomfort.
This recent news comes from the Harvard School of Public Health,which conducted the study. The study stated that users of a tablet computer such as ipad or a motorola zoom (these two tablet computers were used in the study) may be more likely to experience neck and shoulder pain after prolonged use.
In the study, there were four configurations of using a tablet computer that were tested:
- holding the tablet in one’s hand while on the lap
- holding the tablet in a case on the lap
- holding the tablet in a case on a table
- tablet held upright on a table for the purpose of watching a film.
The tablets were outfitted with various cases and stands that users are generally seen using in everyday situations.
The study found that users of tablet computers in all four position configurations run a higher risk of “neck and shoulder discomfort” compared to normal desktop or laptop users.
Why Does a Tablet user experience more pain than a regular desktop/laptop user? This stems mostly from poor posture users exhibit when using tablet computers since their posture and head/neck angles are much more strained. In particular, the head and neck are required to flexion more forward when using a tablet computer
Can neck pain and shoulder pain be reduced when using a tablet computer? Yes, neck pain and shoulder pain can be reduced in two ways:
- Placing the tablet computer higher to avoid a low gaze angle (ie. place the computer on a table, rather than using it on your lap)
- Use a case that provides optimal viewing angles
Personally, I am all about new technology- but i have yet to purchase a tablet computer. I simply love my desktop and my laptop. All my friends seem to own one and love it. I doubt that this study will keep them from using their tablet computers.
Source: Touch Screen Tablet User Configurations and Case Reported Head Tilt affect head and neck flexion angles, November 2011
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