The growing number of tablet computers, including Apple's new iPad launched last week, are causing increasing reports of neck and shoulder injuries, according to a leading doctor in the field.
The growing number of tablet computers, including the new iPad launched last week, are causing increasing reports of neck and shoulder injuries, according to a leading doctor in the field.
Dr. Tony Kochhar, who specialises in shoulder problems and repetitive strain injury (RSI), said that he is now seeing more than 20 patients a week with what is becoming known as “iPad shoulder.”
“Holding the tablet lower down means users have to gaze downwards more sharply,” said Kochhar. “This is increasing the pressure on their joints.”
iPads are not the only devices responsible for this sharp rise in shoulder injuries, as other handheld devices like e-readers are also creating similar problems, as is holding a mobile phone between the ear and shoulder when attempting a do-it-yourself hands-free style.
Kochhar provided some tips for avoiding injury when using an iPad or other tablet. He recommends that users correct their posture by keeping the screen level with the face, rather than hunching over it, as is usually the case. Ideally this would involve a stand, but if users are holding it up to their face they need to switch arms periodically or risk causing arm injury.
Gentle stretching of the neck and shoulders every hour is another good way to ward off injury, as is taking regular breaks, the tried and trusted advice when it comes to working on any form of computer for a long period of time.
Finally, Kochhar suggests that users should watch for the early signs of “iPad shoulder,” such as aching over one side of the back of the shoulder blade or pain down the upper arm.