If you use tablet computers frequently, you increase your chance of neck pain. Tablets may free you from the constrains of a desk, but they present their own set of problems. Doctors refer to neck pain from tablet use as “iPad neck”, a term for the increase in neck injuries associated with mobile devices. Here are some ways to prevent neck pain from tablet computer use.
Practice Proper Posture and Ergonomics
Don’t be tempted to use the tablet in your lap such as in the old Apple iPad commercials. If you hold the tablet too low, it causes your neck to hunch forward, which places pressure on the tendons and spinal column.
Invest in a tablet stand or case that allows you to change viewing levels. Make certain you aren’t having to bend your neck too far, and keep shoulders loose with elbows near the body. When you don’t have access to a case or stand, keep the tablet at a 30-70 degree angle to relieve neck tension.
Buy a chair with lumbar support. If you have to use a regular chair, pace a support pillow on your back, and hold the tablet like a paperback book.A desk should be the same height as the elbow when you sit with feet flat on the floor.
Use an External Keyboard
Tablets aren’t the same as typewriters. Touch screens make long typing sessions much more difficult. Attach an external keyboard, preferably one with adjustable feet and a tray big enough to support the keyboard. A bluetooth (wireless) keyboard and mouse is even better.
Wear a wrist guard to keep hands in a neutral position, and to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs from overexerting the wrist.
Don’t attempt to write the world’s longest novel in one sitting. Regardless of whether you watch movies, type quarterly reports, or read on the tablet, take breaks. Walk around the room, and stretch while you wait for a download to finish. Make a habit of looking up while you wait for an email or text.
Hold your arms straight out beside you, and circle them backward and forward several times to get the blood flowing. Lower the head, and lift it to reduce strain on the neck and shoulders. If taking breaks isn’t possible, choose an object a distance from you, and focus on it for several minutes.
Using a tablet doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck. Be mindful of your limits. If you have neck pain that doesn’t go away, reach out to a group like Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates for more help.Read More