iPads can be a major pain the neck, researchers claim

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iPad neck
Yes, there’s a such a thing as ‘iPad neck.’ Here’s how you avoid it.
Photo: R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Creative Services

Have you ever noticed a neck ache after using your iPad for a long period of time? If so, you’re not alone — and it’s become such a common complaint that it’s even led to the naming of an affliction, “iPad neck.”

In a newly published research paper on iPad neck, researchers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas lay out some facts about the condition, including who it is most likely to affect.

According to the researchers, iPad neck is characterized as being a persistent pain in the neck and upper shoulders, caused by slouching or bending into extreme positions while using tablet computers.

Who does it affect?

A paper published in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science notes that the condition is more likely to be found in younger, rather than older, adults.

Interestingly, it is also more than twice as likely to affect female iPad users. In fact, 70 percent of female respondents reported experiencing symptoms while using their tablets, compared to just under 30 percent of men. (This may be linked to the fact that women are also far more likely to use their tablets while sitting on the floor.)

A sizable 15 percent of respondents said that their iPad neck symptoms were so severe that it affects their sleep. However, just 46 percent of people said they had stopped using their tablets when experiencing discomfort.

UNLV physical therapy professor Szu-Ping Lee, lead author of the study, said the results are concerning, due to how much we rely on our iPads. “Such high prevalence of neck and shoulder symptoms, especially among the younger populations, presents a substantial burden to society,” he noted.

So what are the takeaways from the study? That you should ideally use your tablet while sitting somewhere with good back support. You should also consider a so-called “posture trainer” device which will remind you when you are slouching, since this can cause you discomfort in later life — even if it isn’t already.

Source: UNLV.edu