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Work. 2016 Mar 10;53(4):917-25. doi: 10.3233/WOR-162274.

Exploration of the associations of touch-screen tablet computer usage and musculoskeletal discomfort.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Tablet users may be at high risk of developing physical discomfort because of their usage behaviors and tablet design.

OBJECTIVE:

Investigate the usage of tablets, variations in head and neck posture associated with different tablet tilt angles, and the association of tablet use with users' musculoskeletal discomfort.

METHODS:

A survey of users' subjective perceptions conducted by questionnaire and measurements of users' postures by a 3D Motion analysis system was used to explore the effects of tablet use.

RESULTS:

The questionnaire results indicated that over half of the participants reported physical discomfort after using tablets, with the most prevalent discomfort in the neck and shoulders, and more intensity of discomfort for the back although only few participants experienced it. Chi-squared tests indicated that significantly more participants who tended to use tablet computers to play games reported having musculoskeletal discomfort after using a tablet. In addition, preferences for tablet tilt angles varied across tasks (reading and game playing). The results from the 3D motion analysis revealed that head and neck flexion angles were significantly reduced when the tablets were positioned at relatively steep tilt angles. Neck flexion angle was significantly higher in game playing.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data add information regarding to the usage of tablet and its associations with physical discomfort (significantly more participants who tended to use tablet computers to play games reported having musculoskeletal discomfort after using a tablet). Steep tilt angles (such as 60°) may cause tablet users to decrease their head and neck flexion angles, which could lead to a more neutral, effortless, and ergonomically correct posture. Maintaining proper neck posture during active activities such as game playing is recommended to avoid neck discomfort.

KEYWORDS:

Tablet tilt angle; head and neck posture; physical discomfort

PMID:
26967038
DOI:
10.3233/WOR-162274
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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