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J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Jun;27(6):1743-5. doi: 10.1589/jpts.27.1743. Epub 2015 Jun 30.

The effects of smartphone use on upper extremity muscle activity and pain threshold.

Author information

1
Department of Rehabilitation Science, Graduate School of Inje University, Republic of Korea ; Ubiquitous Healthcare Research Center (u-HARC), Inje University, Republic of Korea ; Biohealth Products Research Center (BPRC), Inje University, Republic of Korea.
2
Department of Rehabilitation Science, Graduate School of Inje University, Republic of Korea ; Ubiquitous Healthcare Research Center (u-HARC), Inje University, Republic of Korea ; Biohealth Products Research Center (BPRC), Inje University, Republic of Korea ; Department of Physical Therapy, College of Biomedical Science and Engineering, Inje University, Republic of Korea.
3
Department of Physical Therapy, College of Biomedical Science and Engineering, Inje University, Republic of Korea.
4
Ubiquitous Healthcare Research Center (u-HARC), Inje University, Republic of Korea.
5
National Primate Research Center (NPRC), Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Republic of Korea.

Abstract

[Purpose] The purpose of this study was to determine whether muscle activity and pressure-induced pain in the upper extremities are affected by smartphone use, and to compare the effects of phone handling with one hand and with both hands. [Subjects] The study subjects were asymptomatic women 20-22 years of age. [Methods] The subjects sat in a chair with their feet on the floor and the elbow flexed, holding a smartphone positioned on the thigh. Subsequently, the subjects typed the Korean anthem for 3 min, one-handed or with both hands. Each subject repeated the task three times, with a 5-min rest period between tasks to minimize fatigue. Electromyography (EMG) was used to record the muscle activity of the upper trapezius (UT), extensor pollicis longus (EPL), and abductor pollicis (AP) during phone operation. We also used a dolorimeter to measure the pressure-induced pain threshold in the UT. [Results] We observed higher muscle activity in the UT, AP, and EPL in one-handed smartphone use than in its two-handed use. The pressure-induced pain threshold of the UT was lower after use of the smartphone, especially after one-handed use. [Conclusion] Our results show that smartphone operation with one hand caused greater UT pain and induced increased upper extremity muscle activity.

KEYWORDS:

Muscle pain; Smartphone; VDT

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