Repetitive or prolonged head flexion posture while using a smartphone is known as one of risk factors for pain symptoms in the neck. To quantitatively assess the amount and range of head flexion of smartphone users, head forward flexion angle was measured from 18 participants when they were conducing three common smartphone tasks (text messaging, web browsing, video watching) while sitting and standing in a laboratory setting. It was found that participants maintained head flexion of 33-45° (50th percentile angle) from vertical when using the smartphone. The head flexion angle was significantly larger (p < 0.05) for text messaging than for the other tasks, and significantly larger while sitting than while standing. Study results suggest that text messaging, which is one of the most frequently used app categories of smartphone, could be a main contributing factor to the occurrence of neck pain of heavy smartphone users. Practitioner Summary: In this laboratory study, the severity of head flexion of smartphone users was quantitatively evaluated when conducting text messaging, web browsing and video watching while sitting and standing. Study results indicate that text messaging while sitting caused the largest head flexion than that of other task conditions.
Keywords: head flexion; neck pain; smartphone; text neck.