AFTER MONTHS OF HARD USE, the iPad has brought us neck pain and shoulder discomfort. But there's hope for the afflicted from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Harvard researchers could have viewed iPads in my Flickr photostream where my family is caught in full flow with the iPad, holding it in laps, in hands, on tables, and propped up to watch videos. Across all of these modes of use, Harvard researchers concluded that people run a "higher risk of neck and shoulder discomfort compared to normal laptop users" because of the poor posture when head and neck angles are strained.
Nothing in the iPad sales literature points out that your head and neck require more forward flexion when using a tablet device. If you've a tablet and you want to avoid the strain, you should consider specific placement for your iPad.
1. Put the iPad higher than you typically hold it so you avoid a low gaze angle. That means the photo in this blog post is a recipe for pain because people are straining to look down at the iPad.
2. Buy a case that provides optimal viewing angles. Then use the case when watching video clips.
Justin Young, Matthieu Trudeau, Dan Odell, Kim Marinelli and Jack Denerlein -- Touch Screen Tablet User Configurations and Case Reported Head Tilt affect head and neck flexion angles, Harvard School of Public Health, November 2011. [11 page PDF]