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Harvard Study: Tablet Computers Are Dangerous

Friday, 27 January 2012 12:19 PM

Tablet computers such as Apple's iPad are a hot trend, but along with their surging popularity comes a slew of head, wrist, and neck injuries, according to Harvard University researchers.
A new study examined common head and neck postures of experienced tablet users under 40 years old. Researchers found that working for long periods of time with your head slumped forward and neck flexed can result in a host of problems for your upper body.
"The beauty of tablets and other mobile devices is their flexibility," said lead author Jack Dennerlein, director of the Occupational Biomechanics and Ergonomics Laboratory at the Harvard School of Public Health. "You can use them almost anywhere and in different ways. You can hold them in your lap; you can hold them in your hand. The problem is that some of the postures people are in when using a tablet can be awkward and lead to discomfort with prolonged use."
The study is published online in the journal Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation.
"Dennerlein recommends that tablet users vary their postures every 15 minutes, and that they use a case that doubles as a tablet stand," reports Harvard School of Public Health. "These cases reduce the need to grip the device, and also allow it to be propped up at an optimal 30 degree angle. This keeps the user's head in a neutral position, minimizing neck strain."
Doctors and chiropractors are also claiming that too much time spent bent over smartphones and BlackBerries is causing a rise in a range of symptoms such as neck strain, headaches, and pain in the shoulders, and sometimes in the arms and hands.
Even worse, hunching over your phone to text, watch movies, or play games could cause a debilitating pain that lasts the rest of your life, some reports say. The Telegraph in the UK reported that some cases are so severe that the muscles eventually adapt to the flexed position, making it painful to straighten the neck out properly.
If you're a dedicated texter, be sure to take frequent breaks, and stretch your head, neck, and back. Experts also suggest holding your phone higher to keep your neck in alignment with your spine.
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Hot, trendy items such as iPads cause changes in posture that lead to head, neck, and wrist injuries.
Friday, 27 January 2012 12:19 PM
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