Using a table computer such as an iPad or Zoom can be a literal pain in the neck because of the head and neck postures associated with their use.

This small study of 15 tablet users explored ways to improve head and neck posture while using tablet computers.

The study participants did a range of tasks from entering e-mails to watching movies on an iPAD 2 and a Zoom.

These tablets come with cases that can be set at 15 and 73 degrees or 45 and 63 degrees, respectively. The participants did the tasks while they were in four different postures: working with the tablet in their laps, working with the tablet placed on the lap while in its case at the lower angle, the tablet placed on a table while in its case at the lower angle, and the tablet on a table in its case at the higher angle.

Head and neck flexion while using the tablets was generally greater than that seen with desktop and notebook computers and it varied between the conditions and the tablets being tested.

There was greater head and neck flexion with the iPAD when it was used in its case. The author suggest that using tablets on tables rather than laps and designing cases that allow for optimal viewing angles could improve head and neck posture.

The sudden popularity of tablet computers has not allowed for research into the typical postures associated with their use. Before there is wide-scale implementation of tablets in the work place, ergonomic guidelines for the use of tablet computers should be developed, the authors suggest.

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