Laptops are out, and that's old news. Here's to the smartphone and the tablet — portable, lightweight, engaging, convenient… but also prone to giving us pretty noticeable body pains. If you've experienced "iPad neck," the stiffness you get from reading a table or phone in a wonky position for a long time, you're far from alone. Luckily, you're also able to fix it pretty easily. It's all a matter of posture.
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Physical therapy researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, have just released a breakdown of who's most affected by iPad neck, and the results are kind of surprising. Young people should be in the best shapes of their lives, and yet they're the ones complaining most of stiffness, soreness, or aching pain from the shoulders up. One in 10 study participants called their discomfort severe, while 15 percent complained of sleep disruption.
Just under half said they'd stop using the device if it got too uncomfortable, though, which doesn't need to be the case. The UNLV researchers suggest four ways to keep yourself pain-free while using the technology we just can't escape anymore:
- Support your back, like with a lumbar pillow. Hunching or curling of your tablet or phone is the biggest culprit for discomfort.
- Try out a posture trainer, which is a wearable device that reminds you with a beep when you're slouching.
- Use the device standing — occupational sitting is a workplace health hazard, though don't lean into that too hard. There are wearables and apps to help with that too.
- Check out exercises that strengthen your neck and shoulder muscles. Some you can even do while sitting at your desk.