The phenomenon of “iPad neck” is a serious one, and one that is becoming more and more of a problem as people find themselves increasingly addicted to their tablets.
A new study has found that tablets put three times as much strain on our neck muscles than desktop computers which leads to neck cramps as well as more serious back problems.
While research has already identified that bending the head at a 60 degree angle to look at a phone screen puts 60 lbs worth of pressure on the cervical spine, the same applies to an iPad screen.
In 2014, in America, 42 percent of under-18s owned a tablet and used it regularly.
The latest study, published in the journal Ergonomics, notes that “[t]ablet use requires significant head and neck flexion [bending] and has implications for potential neck injury to users,” leading to the increasing problem of iPad neck.
When researchers carried out the study, they predicted that tablets would need more gravitational demand from the neck than a computer, especially when used on a lap or flat on a desk.
The study concluded that, “Our findings are important for developing ergonomics guidelines for tablet computer use.”
On top of that, a spokeswoman for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Sammy Margo, told reporters as follows.
“Using a tablet for prolonged periods of time is not ideal especially if placed flat on your lap. This means your neck muscles are stretched if your head is heading towards your chest position. Using a docking station or desk top set up is better, because you are facing forwards instead of downwards.”
Research carried out by Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, found that indeed the amount of pressure on the neck was directly connected to the degree to which it is bent.
As researchers said, “The weight seen by the spine dramatically increases when flexing the head forward at varying degrees. The loss of the ‘natural curve’ of the cervical spine leads to increased stress on the neck. These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration and possibly surgeries.”
They concluded that, “While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over.”