Gender and posture are significant risk factors to musculoskeletal symptoms during touchscreen tablet computer use

J Phys Ther Sci. 2018 Jun;30(6):855-861. doi: 10.1589/jpts.30.855. Epub 2018 Jun 12.


[Purpose] To investigate the prevalence of neck and shoulder symptoms during the use of tablet computer, and to identify the risk factors associated with these symptoms. [Subjects and Methods] A cross-sectional survey was conducted to study tablet computer usage, posture during use, and neck and shoulder symptoms in 412 participants in a school setting. Significant risk factors for musculoskeletal symptoms during tablet computer use were identified. [Results] Overall prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms during tablet computer use was 67.9% with greater prevalence of neck symptoms (neck: 84.6%; shoulder/upper extremity: 65.4%). Significant risk factors associated with symptoms during use were: current musculoskeletal symptoms, gender, roles, and postural factors including: sitting without back support, sitting with device in lap, and lying on the side and on the back during tablet computer use. A multivariate analysis further showed that the odds for females to have symptoms were 2.059 times higher than males. [Conclusion] The findings revealed that female gender and other postural factors were significantly associated with musculoskeletal symptoms during the use of tablet computer. Among all postural factors, sitting without back support was identified as the most important risk factor for having musculoskeletal symptoms.

Keywords: Gender; Pain; Posture.